November 14, 2013, Edmonton, AB – After 24 days away from Rexall Place, the Edmonton Oil Kings looked right at home Thursday night.
Griffin Reinhart had a goal and two assists and the Oil Kings (13-8-0-1) improved to 8-2-0-0 over their last 10 games with a 6-2 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors (7-14-2-2) in their first home game since October 20 against Kootenay.
“It was great,” said Oil Kings forward Curtis Lazar. “We had a very solid road trip in B.C., but to come back in and continue that is key for us going forward.
“We always love that Rexall ice, too. It’s where we’re most comfortable.”
The beleaguered Oil Kings power play came to life Thursday after an 0-23 drought heading into the game, scoring twice on three chances after Head Coach Derek Laxdal implemented changes heading into tonight’s game.
“We got a great net-front presence and we got some better puck movement,” Laxdal explained. “We changed it up, give it a different look, change sides on it and split up Curtis (Lazar) and Sammy (Henrik Samuelsson) to create some inner competition. If you want that heavy ice time, now you’ve got to go out and earn it.”
Moose Jaw opened the scoring as captain Sam Fioretti’s snap shot from the slot beat Tristan Jarry 8:21 into the game. The Oil Kings tied it in the dying minutes of the frame, however, as Griffin Reinhart blasted his second of the season from the point.
Edmonton took the lead for good early in the second as Brett Pollock notched his seventh of the season with a power-play tally, banging home a rebound to make it 2-1. Curtis Lazar extended that lead in the same period with his team-leading 14th of the season, banking home a puck as Aaron Irving crashed the net.
“Mitch (Moroz) made a nice play, and I sort of picked it out of my feet and threw it on net,” Lazar said. “I think it went off a guy’s rear end. I saw it cross the goal line … so I was pretty sure it went in.”
Brayden Point cut the lead to 3-2 with a power-play goal, by the Oil Kings roared back with Dysin Mayo notching his first of the year on the power play to restore the 2-goal lead. Mitch Moroz added his first goal in eight games in the third period, while Mads Eller wired home his second of the year to complete the scoring.
Lazar, Moroz and Pollock all finished with a goal and an assist, while Cody Corbett had a pair of helpers for the balanced Oil Kings attack that got six goals from six players. Moroz also had a heavyweight tilt with Jesse Forsberg late in the third period to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick.
“It was tough not putting the puck in the net there for awhile, but I’ve been getting lots of chances recently, and I think that’s the biggest thing when you’re in a slump,” said Moroz, who admitted he was looking for a chance to get in a late fight.
“I think kind of I said it to somebody on the bench, so I kind of had to follow up on it,” he added.
Point and Fioretti each had one goal and one assist for the Warriors.
Tristan Jarry made 29 saves for his 12th win of the season and has not given up more than two goals in his last 13 starts.
Justin Paulic stopped 36 shots in a losing cause for Moose Jaw.
The Oil Kings, now third in the WHL Eastern Conference, return to action Saturday night for Volvo Minor Hockey night when they host the Swift Current Broncos. Every fan in the building will have a chance to win one of 500 Curtis Lazar t-shirts.