EDMONTON, ALTA. – The Edmonton Oil Kings are having trouble finding their game.
By their own admission, the Oil Kings (15-14-3-2) lacked intensity and emotion Tuesday night as they fell 4-1 to the Kelowna Rockets (27-5-3-0) at Rexall Place, Edmonton’s third straight loss.
“We weren’t very good,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “We need some implementation on the players’ part. They need to be emotionally invested in the outcomes of our games.”
“We’ve got to learn how to play with more emotion,” echoed Oil Kings defenceman Dysin Mayo. “It’s been like that throughout the year. We’ve been on and off.”
Edmonton got off to a strong start, registering the first seven shots of the game, but Kelowna struck first as Cole Martin’s point shot was stopped by Tristan Jarry but the rebound bounced right to Rodney Southam, who put the Rockets up 1-0. Cole Linaker would add another before the period was over, giving the Rockets a 2-0 lead.
“I was happy with our start. I thought we changed things around from where we’ve been playing lately,” Mayo said. “But once they got those two goals, we didn’t have a response for that.”
Brandon Baddock cut the Rockets lead to 2-1 with 1:16 left in the second period, redirecting a point shot from Ashton Sautner for a power-play goal, but Gage Quinney scored a minute later to give Kelowna another two goal cushion heading into the third.
In the final frame, Tyson Baillie added another power-play goal for the Rockets to round out the scoring.
“That’s a good team. They work exceptionally hard. They’re hard to play against, and we aren’t,” Hamilton said.
“This isn’t a cultural we want to adopt: losing. We’re a winning team, and that’s what we’ve got to do,” Baddock added.
“We’ve just got to be better. We’ve got to be harder on the forecheck, get bigger hits, be more disciplined.”
Jackson Whistle made 32 saves for the win, while Tristan Jarry stopped 25 in a losing effort.
The Oil Kings will wrap up the first half of their season Wednesday in Calgary.