Oilers first-round win sends Edmonton fans into frenzy

Oilers first-round win sends Edmonton fans into frenzy

If you've ever wondered what 11 years of pent-up excitement looks and sounds like, Rogers Place was the place to be Saturday night.

With a 3-2 series lead over the San Jose Sharks, the Oilers needed one more win to clinch the series. That's exactly what they delivered.

As the game ended, thousands of jubilant Oilers fans spilled out of Rogers Place and into the adjacent Ford Hall for an impromptu dance party. Fans of all ages rocked the night away, celebrating the big win.

"I've never experienced anything like this before," said Oilers fan Scott MacDonald, 18, who watched the game at Rogers Place with his friend Jackson Aucoin.  

MacDonald and Aucoin were seven years old the last time the Oilers won a series.

"It was unbelievable, like the atmosphere in there, " said Aucoin, who was surrounded by screaming fans.

"There's no other team in the world — the Oilers aren't even playing in the stadium and the atmosphere in there is just insane. It's wild. They're winning the cup!"

That was the thought of a lot of the fans who came to Rogers Place to watch their team play on the big screen.

Many have only heard about the dynasty team of the 80s. They were just babies when the team went to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006, only to lose in Game 7 to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Thirteen-year-old Nicole Hidalgo from Grande Prairie came to Rogers Place to celebrate her birthday with friends. She said it's one she'll never forget. 

"It was amazing, it's awesome, it's awesome, I love it, " she said, beaming as other fans jumped around her and cheered: "We want the cup, we want the cup!"

'It was unreal'

"It was unreal, honestly I don't have words, it's unreal, it feels so good " said 22-year-old Tanner Cimino, who was 11 the last time the Oilers made it out of the first round.  

"Eleven years old, back in the day, we barely experienced it and now we're moving on to the second round."

While the dance party kicked into high gear inside Ford Hall, a frenzy of fans mobbed the Gretzky statue outside Rogers Place.

Cars, and trucks drove past with horns honking and fans hanging out of open windows, many of them waving flags and cheering "Let's go Oilers!"

Steve Peddle, 49, hoisted a giant flag above the crowd.

Peddle remembers the Oilers glory days in the 1980s, as well as the 2006 run to the Stanley Cup finals.

He watched the game in his basement with friends. But as soon as the Oilers sank their winning puck, the group headed downtown to celebrate with hundreds of other fans on the sidewalk outside Rogers Place.

"I tell ya, it's so exciting right now, " shouted Peddle, who was nearly drowned out by honking cars and screaming fans.

"I remember 2006 like it was yesterday... We're back in it now, we've won the first round, we're on to the second round, this is very exciting."

The Oilers face the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the playoffs. The first two games of that series will be in southern California.