It didn’t take long for the Edmonton Oil Kings to get back to their winning ways, and by doing so, reclaiming the lead in the Central Division standings.
Conner McDonald scored both goals for Edmonton and Todd Scott was outstanding in goal as the Oil Kings (26-15-4-4) skated to a 2-1 win over the Prince George Cougars (16-27-3-2) in front of 8,286 fans at Rogers Place on Sunday evening.
The Oil Kings regained the lead in the Central with 60 points, while the Medicine Hat Tigers (58) and Red Deer Rebels (58) were idle. The Calgary Hitmen (50) claimed a 4-1 win over the Kootenay ICE (28) and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (58) were in the midst of a clash with the Portland Winterhawks later Sunday night.
McDonald’s play defensively has been helping the Oil Kings win games with the team picking up at least a point in six of their last seven games (5-1-0-1), but his offensive contributions are every bit as thrilling to watch.
With the pair of goals on the evening, the 19-year-old Delta, BC native set a new career high for goals in a regular season (12), and now sits tied for second in goals scored among all WHL defencemen (Bowen Byram 17; Brayden Pachal 12).
Not to be outdone was Scott (5-1-2-0), who picked up his fifth win of the season and fourth straight victory. In each of his last three starts he’s surrendered just one goal, earning himself a save percentage of .960, .969 and .964 tonight, respectively.
Tonight he turned aside 27 of 28 shots he faced, including the steady stream of all 12 shots in the third period.
His counterpart Taylor Gauthier (12-19-2-1) suffered the loss in the tightly-contested affair, despite surrendering just two goals and making 30 saves.
Midway through the first period it was the Cougars who opened the game’s scoring, as Vladislav Mikhalchuk extended his team lead in points to 35 with his 17th goal of the season, a power play marker, at 9:51.
Prince George maintained the 1-0 lead into the first intermission with shots tied at 11-11 apiece.
The Oil Kings would eventually tie the game, 1-1, as McDonald managed to burst by the Cougars defence on the near side and bury a shot past Gauthier, unassisted, for his 11th of the season.
McDonald’s second of the night came just over two minutes later on the power play and proved to be the game winner, from Quinn Benjafield and Vladimir Alistrov, at 8:55.
Shots on goal were overwhelmingly tilted in Edmonton’s favour, 14-5, in the second period.
The third period remained scoreless despite a final push by the Cougars which saw them outshoot the Oil Kings, 12-7, for a game total of 32-28, Edmonton.
Prince George was 1-for-2 on the power play, while Edmonton finished the game going 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Tyson Upper (PG) (3), Todd Scott (EDM) (2), and Conner McDonald (EDM) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Wyatt McLeod, Conner McDonald and Matthew Robertson each wore an “A” and skated as alternate captains to Trey Fix-Wolansky.
The Oil Kings host their third game in five days when the Brandon Wheat Kings come to town on Tuesday, January 29 for a 7:00 PM MT start at Rogers Place.
Great seats are still available for all Edmonton Oil Kings home games during the 2018-19 season starting at just $20. Visit OilKings.ca for more information or to purchase.