The final 2015-16 regular season game was the most critical one for the Edmonton Oil Kings. And it was over before most of the 7,028 fans at the Enmax Centrium were in their seats.
The Red Deer Rebels scored twice in the first three minutes and added two more in the opening period on route to a 7-2 win over Edmonton Saturday night.
The game started with a penalty on Dario Meyer for goaltender interference, which many Oil Kings fans understandably were puzzled about. Meyer skated in behind the Rebels net where the puck was dumped in and Trevor Martin came out to play it as well where the two collided. The officials arm went up and moments later Colton Bobyk scored on the powerplay. Bobyk added his second of the night 90 seconds later sending a seeing-eye shot past a crowd in front of Payton Lee and into the net. From there it was all Red Deer.
The second period saw some push back from the Oil Kings. The boys in white fired shot after shot at Martin and became much more physical. However penalty trouble found them and Red Deer capitalized scoring two goals on the man advantage.
Affiliate goaltender Carter Phair saw some action as he replaced Lee to start the third. The Carnduff, SK native stopped four of five shots in relief. Brett Pollock had the two Oil Kings goals snapping home his 29th and 30th on the year to take the team lead in goals. Pollock, who was the game’s third star, also has 199 career WHL points.
Unfortunately the worst case scenario coming into Saturday happened, which was an Oil Kings regulation loss coupled with a Tigers win. This puts the two teams into a tie for the final wild card position in the Eastern Conference with 65 points. Edmonton will now travel to Medicine Hat for a one-game playoff at Canalta Centre on Tuesday. The winner there will head east and face off against the Brandon Wheat Kings Thursday for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals. Tune into TSN 1260 as Corey Graham will have the call.