EDMONTON, AB — A crowd of 11,104 came to Rexall Place for the final regular season game of the Edmonton Oil Kings Thursday night. They are now hoping it wasn’t the final game ever here for the Oil Kings as Edmonton fell to the Red Deer Rebels 4-1.
Despite outshooting Red Deer 31-25 the Oil Kings had difficulties solving Rebels netminder Trevor Martin getting just the one goal by him.
“I liked our game in the second and third. I thought we played the right way,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “We were aggressive. We talked about if we are going to make mistakes let’s make them because we’re aggressive. I thought we really pursued the puck a lot better in the back half of the game. There were some chances. Our net presence has to get better plain and simple.”
The Oil Kings were on their heels in the first period giving up a pair of goals and being outshot 11-4. Adam Helewka (41) and Colton Bobyk (18) had the goals for the Rebels.
In the second period Surrey, BC native Davis Koch got Edmonton on the board when he buried his 9th on the season blasting it past Martin. Brett Pollock and Dysin Mayo got the helpers. However, the Rebels restored their two goal lead when Michael Spacek ripped home his 18th past Lee.
The Rebels put the final nail in the proverbial coffin when Braden Purtill scored into the empty net after Payton Lee was pulled for a sixth attacker.
“It was a slow start,” said Dysin Mayo. “We were happy with our second and third period where we pushed back. We need to come to games stronger. They pressured hard (on the powerplay) and we weren’t quite ready for that mentally. We have to focus and outwork them on the penalty kill.”
The loss leaves the Oil Kings flirting with disaster as they try to stave off the Medicine Hat Tigers for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Edmonton is two points up on the Tigers with one game left against the Rebels Saturday in Red Deer. The Tigers have a home and home with the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday and Saturday.