By Lethbridge Herald on January 11, 2019.
This mini series just came down to a best-of-one.
The Edmonton Oil Kings made sure of that with authority following
a 5-1 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Western Hockey League play
Friday at the Enmax Centre.
The Oil Kings win avenges a 5-2 loss to the Canes Sunday in Edmonton,
snaps Lethbridge’s four-game winning streak and sets up the series
finale between the two Central Division front-runners when the teams
meet in Edmonton on Sunday for their third game in a week.
The Hurricanes got off to a promising start on Adam Hall’s first
career WHL goal, but three Oil Kings goals in the span of 6:15 snapped
a 1-1 tie and gave the visitors a commanding 4-1 lead that also chased
Canes starting goaltender Liam Hughes in favour of Carl Tetachuk.
On Country Music Night, that little bit of gun-slinging was enough to
allow Edmonton to saddle up and ride out with the two points as the
Canes fall to 24-11-4-4 and the Oil King improve to 24-14-4-3 and
within one point of Lethbridge for first in the tight Central Division.
“Edmonton was the better team,” said Hurricanes head coach Brent
Kisio. “They came hard, played hard and their top guys were ready to
go. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t show up tonight.”
The Hurricanes fourth line went to work early as Hall netted his first
WHL goal 3:02 into the game.
The lead lasted all of 19 seconds as Scott Atkinson broke in alone on
Hughes for his first of the night and a 1-1 tie after 20 minutes.
Then in a little over six minutes in the second period, the Oil King
grabbed the game by the throat and never let go.
Vince Loschiavo scored his 19th of the season at 1:33, then came a
pair of goals 40 seconds apart in the seventh minute as Liam Keeler’s
man advantage shot from the right of the Hurricanes goal bounced up
and over Hughes for a 3-1 lead.
It was 4-1 right after that as Jalen Luypen made no mistake on a
chance in front 7:48 into the second that ended Hughes night.
“It wasn’t even how he played, it was just try and get some momentum
change,” said Kisio of the goalie change. “I thought he made some
saves. The one goal he would want back, for sure. But it was 4-1, we
weren’t working hard it was trying to get some momentum.”
Edmonton rounded out the scoring in the third and Atkinson added his
second of the game, pouncing on a Calen Addison giveaway at the
Edmonton blue-line before breaking in alone on Tetachuk for his
seventh of the season with 7:15 remaining.
“I thought with our game the whole way, a lot of the guys just went
through the motions tonight,” said Kisio. “We didn’t show up to play
hockey, especially against a (team) we’re in a big race with.”
Not helping the Hurricanes is the other teams in the Central Division
race all won Friday night.
The Red Deer Rebels defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-3 in Brandon to
move into a tie with the Oil Kings for second in the Central. The
Medicine Hat Tigers maintained the pace in a 5-2 win over the Regina
Pats in Medicine Hat that improves them to 23-16-1-2, two points back
of the Oil Kings and Rebels.
Meanwhile, the Calgary Hitmen continue to roll with their sixth
victory in a row, topping the Saskatoon Blades 4-3 in overtime in
Saskatoon. That makes them 21-16-3-1 and three points back of Medicine
The Hurricanes face the Kootenay Ice tonight at 7 p.m. at the Enmax
Centre before wrapping up the mini-series with the Oil Kings Sunday in
Edmonton at 4 p.m.
The two teams that have seen plenty of each other lately displayed
some dislike for each other Friday night, but Kisio noted one key
variable in order for that to continue in Edmonton.
“We’ll see, it can be a rivalry if two teams show up,” he said. “If
one team shows up, it’s not going to be much of a rivalry.”
The Oil Kings were given seven power plays, converting on one, while
the Hurricanes were 0-for-5 on the man advantage.
The teams tied 25-25 on the shot clock as Oil Kings goaltender Todd
Scott kicked out all but one shot directed his way.
Hughes stopped nine of 13 before getting the hook, while Tetachuk made
Friday’s announced attendance was 4,015.
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