Red Deer, AB – The Edmonton Oil Kings (12-1-0-0) finished their six-game season series with the Red Deer Rebels (2-9-2-0) with a convincing 6-1 victory on Monday night at the Westerner Park Centrium, giving them a series sweep.
“The message we sent out to the guys was the importance of finishing this series against them the right way,” said Oil Kings Head Coach Brad Lauer. “I really liked the way we came out in the first period and played the game we are capable of playing , I thought that really set the tone for us.”
Kaid Oliver, Dylan Guenther and Jalen Luypen guided the offence as the trio accounted for all six of the Edmonton goals, scoring two each.
“They supported each other better than they have in the past,” said Lauer on Oliver and Guenther in particular. “They’ve played well together most the year but the last few games they’ve gotten away from the support a little bit. I thought tonight they did a good job of moving their feet and not allowing themselves to get checked and makde good plays.”
Guenther would also add an assist for his third three-point effort of the season in which was likely his final game in an Oil Kings sweater He is off to join Team Canada for the U18 World Championships later this month in Texas.
After giving up the games opening goal in their previous three contests, the Oil Kings came out of the gate firing on Monday night scoring three times in the first period. Oliver opened the scoring 5:29 into the first period with his second goal in as many games and seventh of the season. A pinballing puck would bounce from Guenther to Oliver, eventually off Rebels goalie Ethan Anders, before landing on the stick of Jake Neighbours in front of the Red Deer net, his shot would be stopped by Anders, but the rebound was swept home by Oliver to stake the visitors to an early lead.
The Rebels were able to keep the Oil Kings at bay for the bulk of the remaining time in the first period, but a couple of late-period turnovers would result in a pair of beautiful goals off the stick of the league’s most lethal goal scorer – Dylan Guenther. First, Oil Kings rookie forward Jayden Henderson would flip a puck into the Rebels zone where a Red Deer defenceman would over skate the puck leaving it sitting on a tee for Guenther in-between the hash-marks that he would step into and blast over the shoulder of Anders for his 11th of the season with 3:25 left in the period. With the assist, Henderson picked up his first career WHL point. Just 1:23 later, Guenther went back to work, stealing a puck inside the Rebels zone then turning Red Deer defenceman Joel Sexsmith inside-out and sliding the puck under the right pad of Anders for his 12th of the season giving Edmonton a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.
The Rebels would tighten things up in the second period as neither team would have much room to operate. With time dwindling down in the period the Rebels would be afforded a couple of power-play opportunities, after failing to click on their first, Arshdeep Bains would connect on their second with his fourth of the year at 16:52 of the middle period. The Rebels would work the puck around the Edmonton zone before Mason Ward would spot Bains at the top of the left-circle where he was able to step into a wrist shot that got through a screen set by Zak Smith and over the arm of Sebastian Cossa. The Oil King would not go quietly to the intermission though quickly restoring their three-goal lead just 2:10 later getting a goal from Jalen Luypen, his ninth of the campaign. Ethan Peters found Luypen with speed coming through the neutral zone, handed him the puck and Luypen stepped to the top of the right circle sizzling a shot past Anders, giving Edmonton a 4-1 lead after 40-minutes of play.
The Oil Kings, more specifically Luypen, carried the momentum over from the late second period goal as he would bury his second of the night just 1:45 into the third period. Like his first goal, Luypen started with the puck in the neutral zone, but this time he turned on the jets and blew through a pair of Red Deer defenceman and lasered a shot past Anders. Less than five minutes later, Oliver would become the third Edmonton forward to double-dip on the night scoring on a bullet from the right-wing circle setup by Logan Dowhaniuk and Dylan Guenther.
Oil Kings 2020 first-round draft pick, Dawson Seitz, skated in his first career WHL game and for a moment was credited with an assist on the Oil Kings second goal before having it taken away upon review.
“For his first game in the Western Hockey League I thought he handled himself fairly well,” added Lauer on his rookie forward. “He’s got some good size and I thought he used it, he was good to watch. He has a great upside.”
In net, it was a light night for Cossa having to make just 15 saves on 16 Red Deer shots for his 11th win of the season. Edmonton went 0 for 4 on the power play while the Rebels were 1 for 4.
The Oil Kings are now off now until they head to Calgary to take on the Hitmen Friday, April 16.
- Jake Neighbours extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist (5G, 17A).
- Jalen Luypen extended his goal and point streaks to three games tonight with two goals (4G, 3A).
- Carson Latimer extended his point streak to three games tonight with an assist (1G, 2A).
- Dylan Guenther now leads the WHL in goals (12) and points (23).
- Neighbours now leads the WHL in assists (17) and is second in points (22).
- Sebastian Cossa tied Tristan Jarry (2013) for the longest single-season win streak by a goaltender with his 11th straight win.
- The Oil Kings have now won 17-straight games against Red Deer.