(ISN) – EDMONTON, ALTA. – For the Edmonton Oil Kings, sometimes it’s more about the process than the outcome.
That’s the mantra Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton was sticking with as the Oil Kings (21-18-3-2) lost a hard-fought 2-1 decision to the East Division-leading Brandon Wheat Kings (31-9-3-1) Tuesday night at Rexall Place.
“I was real pleased with our effort. I thought we did a real good job of limiting maybe the best offensive team in our league to 21 shots and not a lot of Grade A looks,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t get the result we would like, but our team showed up with a solid game plan.
“Outcome wasn’t what we want, but process was solid.”
The Oil Kings held the potent Brandon offence – which is averaging 4.3 goals per game – to just a pair of goals and outshot the Wheat Kings 26-21, but couldn’t find the tying goal.
“We didn’t get a result, but our team played hard,” said Oil Kings forward Edgars Kulda. “I think it had a lot to do with our forecheck being in the face of their D-men.”
“We don’t want to be into a track meet. That’s who we are, won’t apologize for it,” Hamilton added. “Our veteran four defencemen were outstanding, logging a lot of minutes again.”
The Oil Kings played a pair of rookies on their third defensive pairing, as Chance Patterson teamed with affiliated player call-up Brayden Gorda, 15, with the Oil Kings dealing with injuries to Aaron Irving, Jake Kohlhauser and newly acquired Marshall Donald.
Brandon opened the scoring late in the first period on a four-on-three power play as John Quenneville fanned on a shot in the slot, but somehow still slid it past Tristan Jarry in the Oil Kings goal.
The Oil Kings appeared to tie the game early in the second period as Mads Eller poked a puck free from Brandon netminder Jordan Papirny and into the back of the net, but the referees ruled no goal because the play had been blown dead.
Edmonton did get on the board midway through the period as Lane Bauer drove wide and fired a shot on the Brandon goal and Brett Pollock whacked the bouncing rebound into the open net.
Brandon regained the lead for good late in the second, however, as Ryan Pilon put a puck on net from the point that redirected over Jarry and into the Edmonton goal.
“With the exception of the second goal, I thought we did a very good job managing the puck,” Hamilton said. “A bad line change, bad puck management was the difference in the game, and that certainly is deflating.”
Jarry finished with 19 saves, while Papirny made 25 for Brandon.
The Oil Kings will be back in action Friday night as they host the Regina Pats for their first visit of the season to Rexall Place.