Deja Vu All Over Again for Oil Kings

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(ISN) – EDMONTON, ALTA. – For the second game in a row, the Edmonton Oil Kings burst out to an early lead then fell back to earth in the second period.

The Oil Kings (22-20-4-2) led 2-0 after the first period but allowed five unanswered goals in the second and third to fall 5-2 to the Calgary Hitmen in front of 9,707 fans at Rexall Place Saturday night.

The game echoed Thursday’s 5-3 Oil Kings loss to Kootenay, where the team went up 3-1 before allowing four unanswered goals in the final two periods.

“It was almost a mirror image of Thursday’s game: build a lead and get ourselves into penalty trouble, the tides turn and early penalty in the third, game-winning goal. It’s a destructive path,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “It’s frustrating.

“Our penalty kill’s been bleeding goals against the last few games, but we’re unreliable in those situations right now. We need to get a little bit of swagger back on the penalty kill, but we certainly don’t miss any chances to keep testing ourselves.”

For the third straight game, the Oil Kings allowed at least two power-play goals as Calgary went 2-7 with the man advantage, while the Oil Kings were 0-4.

“Discipline. The bottom line is just our discipline,” said Oil Kings captain Ashton Sautner. “It’s two games in a row now … we really got the other team on their heels.

“It’s the end of January now, and these points are points we need. These are games that come back to haunt you, too. We could have had four points these last two games.”

The Oil Kings are now seven points behind Calgary for third in the Central Division, and slipped one point behind the Kootenay Ice into the second wildcard spot.

Marshall Donald opened the scoring with his first as an Oil King, jumping into the rush and beating Mack Shields blocker side with a hard wrist shot. The 19-year-old defenceman was acquired at the WHL trade deadline from the Calgary Hitmen.

“It was nice to get that first one with the new club, but it’s kind of all for nothing at the end of the day when you don’t get the two points for the win,” Donald said.

Brett Pollock made it 2-0 with six minutes left in the first period as he popped a backhand over Shields.

From there, it was all Calgary, however, as Adam Tambellini scored a pair of second-period goals to tie the game, and Elliott Peterson, Beck Malenstyn and Connor Rankin all tallied in the third to round out the scoring.

Shields made 21 saves to get the win, while Tristan Jarry stopped 31 pucks in the Oil Kings net.

Lane Bauer extended his point streak to six games with an assist on Pollock’s goal.

Edmonton will be back on Rexall Place ice Sunday at 4 p.m. as they host the Medicine Hat Tigers.