Oil Kings fall to Hitmen

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December 28, 2013, Calgary, AB (ISN) – The Edmonton Oil Kings didn’t get the start they wanted coming out of the Christmas Break.

The Oil Kings (23-11-0-1) recovered from a 2-0 deficit, but gave up the next four goals, suffering a 6-2 loss to the Calgary Hitmen (23-8-2-3) Saturday night in Calgary.

“I thought we played in spurts. It was a tale of two teams,” said Edmonton Head Coach Derek Laxdal. “I thought the first 10 minutes of the first period we dominated them, and then we dominated them for the next 10 minutes and the same in the second period.”

The Hitmen jumped on Edmonton early as Jake Virtanen opened the scoring just 59 seconds into the first period and Elliott Peterson got his first of three goals at the 8:52 mark. Mads Eller and Brett Pollock both responded for the Oil Kings, however, tying the game before the first intermission.

“I thought Brandon Baddock’s line got a little energy on our bench. I made the line change and put Mads Eller with Samuelsson and Petryk, and it created a goal, so we stuck with that,” Laxdal said.

From then on, the scoring was all Calgary despite the Oil Kings outshooting their southern rivals 36-17. Peterson tallied twice more, including once into the empty net, while Pavel Padakin and Chase Lang each scored for the Hitmen.

“I thought we were controlling the game (in the second period),” Laxdal said. “They didn’t have any offensive chances and then we gave up a couple goals on a defensive zone faceoff and a turnover. We made some mental mistakes, and that was the difference in the game.”

Henrik Samuelsson had a pair of assists for the Oil Kings, giving him 40 points on the year, while Tristan Jarry made 11 saves in a losing cause.

Chris Driedger made 34 stops to get the win for Calgary.

The loss spoils a chance for the Oil Kings to jump Calgary in the standings and retake first place in the WHL Eastern Conference. Edmonton will try to close the four-point gap between the two teams when they host the Red Deer Rebels Sunday afternoon at Rexall Place.

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