(ISN) – EDMONTON, ALTA. – The Edmonton Oil Kings put in another strong effort against the Red Deer Rebels, but it wasn’t enough as a pair of third period goals sunk them Sunday night in Red Deer.
Conner Bleackley scored twice in the third for the Rebels (20-13-3-1) and Brooks Maxwell added an empty netter as Red Deer downed the Oil Kings (16-16-3-2) 3-1.
It was the second night in a row the Oil Kings fell to the Rebels in a tightly contested game after a 3-2 loss Saturday night at Rexall Place.
“I thought we played real hard tonight. For the effort that we showed for two games, we don’t have anything to show for it in the standings, but I think there was some distinct progress this weekend,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “We did a much better job defensively, we were more physical, more consistent in our game. We held our ground in some key spots and I thought that we at least answered the bell two times in a row against a very good hockey team. We have to consider small steps progress right now and build on them.”
Andrew Koep opened the scoring for Edmonton midway through the second period as he scooped up a loose puck in the slot and snapped a quick shot past Taz Burman.
That 1-0 lead held until 8:44 into the third period when Austin Adamson centred the puck from behind the net and Bleackley just got it past a sprawling Tristan Jarry to tie the game.
Bleackley struck again with just 2:15 remaining in regulation, working out of the corner and chipping a shot off Jarry that trickled into the Oil Kings goal. Maxwell added an empty net goal to round out the scoring.
Jarry finished with 26 saves for the Oil Kings, while Burman made 28 stops for Red Deer.
The Oil Kings will be back in action Wednesday night as they host the Swift Current Broncos in a New Year’s Eve showdown that will feature a post-game fireworks show.