(ISN) – EDMONTON, ALTA. – The Edmonton Oil Kings looked like two different teams Thursday afternoon against the Kootenay Ice.
The first iteration blasted out to a 3-1 lead in front of 10,396 fans at Rexall Place – almost 7,000 of them students on hand for the 6th Annual CN Hockey Hooky game – but the Oil Kings (22-19-4-2) looked like a different team in the second half, allowing four straight goals to fall 5-3 to the Ice (24-22-0-1).
“We went into a bit of a defensive shell where we weren’t pressing anymore and just playing on our heels,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “It was a disappointing end to that second period and certainly an unbelievably disappointing end to the game.”
Tim Bozon scored a hat trick for the Ice, including a pair on the power play, which finished 2-4, as the Ice pressured the Oil Kings throughout the second half of the game, scoring a pair of goals in the latter half of the second period and the eventual game winner early in the third.
“We didn’t play consistent today,” said Oil Kings captain Ashton Sautner. “We get off to a good start, crowd’s into it, and we just had three or four shifts where Kootenay’s coming at us, and they generated offence and eventually tied it.
“We have to be better and learn from it, but at the same time we can’t take it lightly. It’s January now, and Kootenay’s behind us in the playoffs. We can’t be giving away points like that against a team that’s trying to catch us.”
Brett Pollock opened the scoring for Edmonton, taking a feed in the slot from Edgars Kulda and putting a backhand past Ice goalie Wyatt Hoflin just 4:29 into the game. It was Pollock’s 20th goal of the season and 100th career point in the WHL.
Bozon tied it on the power play shortly after, but Pollock regained the lead midway through the period converting a two-on-one chance with Mads Eller with another nifty backhand. It was the second year in a row Pollock had scored two goals on Hockey Hooky.
“I was able to get back in the lineup there,” said Pollock who didn’t play in the Oil Kings’ 4-3 overtime loss to Victoria on Sunday. “Whether it’s banging bodies or creating scoring chances, I had to do something to have my presence felt.”
Ben Carroll made the lead 3-1 for the Oil Kings 10:29 into the second period as he wired a wrist shot from the point that found the top corner over Hoflin’s glove.
From there, the Ice took control, however, and Bozon netted his second of the game with 2:32 to play in the second period. Tyler King would tie it for the Ice beating Oil Kings netminder Tristan Jarry over the shoulder with 49 seconds left in the middle frame.
Bozon completed his hat trick just 1:18 into the third period, finding the back of the net on a one-timer on the power play for the eventual game winner. Levi Cable added an empty netter for the Ice to round out the scoring.
Jarry finished with 34 saves in a losing effort, while Hoflin made 28 for the win.
Edmonton was 0-3 on the power play, while the Ice finished 2-3 with the mad advantage.
The Oil Kings will be back in action Saturday as the Calgary Hitmen pay a visit to Rexall Place.