Wednesday afternoon was “Hockey Hooky” at Rogers Place bringing 12,663 fans to the rink to watch their Edmonton Oil Kings host the Kootenay ICE. There was a big lesson to be learned…never give up.
Thanks to a couple infractions early in the second, the ICE took advantage jumping out to a 2-0 lead on Edmonton making the home team play from behind most of the game but the squad battled all afternoon long and thanks to a late goal from Trey Fix-Wolansky and an overtime marker from Colton Kehler the Oil Kings escaped with a thrilling 3-2 win.
“I didn’t love, love, love our game in the first half,” said Oil Kings Head Coach Steve Hamilton.
“But we kind of stuck with it and that was a good sign. I don’t know if we were a little out of sorts with the start time or what it was, but we just didn’t seem to have every line going full cylinder. But we stuck with the plan and it was nice to see us force overtime.”
Reed Morison opened the scoring for Kootenay when he was left all alone on the doorstep during their power play. Morison gobbled up a rebound and tucked it around Patrick Dea to make it 1-0.
A few minutes later on the man advantage again, Vince Loschiavo sent a wrist shot from the top of the circle that eluded Dea far-side putting the ICE up by two.
Former Oil Kings goaltender, Payton Lee, was perfect between the pipes for Kootenay until 10 seconds left in the middle frame.
Loschiavo had a brutal turnover on his own blue line putting the puck right on Davis Koch’s stick who skated in all alone and waited out Lee before burying his team-leading 17th on the season.
The Oil Kings continued to press for the entire third period looking for the equalizer and in the dying minutes Fix-Wolanksy, who had been buzzing about all day, tucked one past Lee sending the thousands of kids in attendance into a frenzy.
All season long the Oil Kings have been quite good in overtime and today was no exception as Kehler and Tyler Robertson went in on a 2-on-1 with Kehler getting a shot off that barely squeaked through Lee’s pads for the winner.
“We have been a pretty good OT team. It was nice to see Robbie (Tyler Robertson) and Kehls (Colton Kehler) connect again in overtime,” said Hamilton.
Edmonton played the game with just five defencemen dressed; two of them were call-up affiliate players, but that did not deter them from being aggressive and showing why the future looks bright on the blueline added Hamilton.
“I thought 5-on-5 we did a pretty good job eliminating their opportunities. That’s a lot to ask. I think Conner McDonald played like 45 minutes tonight. It just seemed like every time I looked up he was still out there. That’s a lot of minutes. He came from a situation in Kamloops where he was playing 5/6 spot minutes and he has really embraced that. All those guys did a great job.”
Dea was very solid today turning aside 29 of 31 shots he faced in the win. Lee stopped 30 shots in the losing effort.
The Oil Kings (20-33-3-1) will head down to play the Calgary Hitmen (20-26-8-2) Friday night looking to make it three straight wins. Game is at 7:00 PM and Corey Graham will have the call on TSN 1260.