February 5, 2014, Kamloops (ISN) – In a game that saw 13 power plays, the Edmonton Oil Kings penalty kill made the difference. The Oil Kings (38-13-0-1) killed off all eight Kamloops Blazers power plays Wednesday night and scored two shorthanded goals en route to their ninth straight win with a 4-1 decision at the Interior Savings Centre in Kamloops.
The parade to the penalty box began early, with Reid Petryk whistled for boarding just 62 seconds into the game. The Edmonton penalty kill was up to the task, however, led by a strong performance between the pipes from Tyler Santos, who made 32 saves for the win.
“He gave us a chance to win, that’s all we can ask of him,” said Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal. “They were trying to funnel pucks from everywhere and give him credit, he made the key saves at critical times.”
The penalty kill, combined with a three-goal third period that saw Edmonton outshoot Kamloops 21-6, helped the Oil Kings overcome a slow start and dismal second period effort as they struggled to gain any momentum and under a seemingly endless string of penalties.
“We talked about not taking penalties this game, and I think they got the wrong message,” Laxdal said. “We got into some penalty trouble tonight, and it was too much. It doesn’t matter who you play against, it takes a toll on your team, and until we figured that out in the third period, we couldn’t get any traction.
“We had a discussion that we couldn’t stand to watch the way we were playing. We talked about working together, not working as individuals, and we did that. We were able to build off two or three shifts in a row.”
Riley Kieser finished with two goals and an assist for the Oil Kings, notching both the game winner and a shorthanded empty-net goal to seal the victory. Kieser now has seven goals and four assists in his last 11 games.
“Riley’s been outstanding. He’s one of those unsung hero type of players that comes to the rink every night and gives an honest effort,” Laxdal said. “His game has elevated, and it’s part of the identity that he has and his line has that he gets those big goals for you.”
Henrik Samuelsson also scored shorthanded for Edmonton, set up by Kieser, to extend his scoring streak to six games.
The Oil Kings will be back in action Friday night when the visit the Kelowna Rockets, who stand atop the WHL standings. Edmonton is 1-1-0-0 against the Rockets this season.