Calgary Hitmen


EDMONTON, ALTA. – It didn’t take long for things to go wrong for the Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday afternoon in Calgary.

The Oil Kings (24-22-4-2) gave up two goals in the first three minutes en route to a 5-0 loss to the Calgary Hitmen (29-17-1-4).

“We knew we’d be facing a top notch opponent today and we just didn’t provide a top notch effort,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “That team’s going to be a handful for us at the best of times, and we certainly didn’t give ourselves much of an opportunity.”

The Oil Kings again found themselves in penalty trouble, taking 12 minors over the course of the game and giving up a pair of power-play goals as the Hitmen went 2-9 with the man advantage.

Edmonton also struggled to generate any offence on Mack Shields in the Calgary net.

“We were reluctant to get traffic and reluctant to put pucks on net. Quite honestly, just didn’t have a ton of time or space today, and it’s a credit to Calgary,” Hamilton said. “They did a good job of executing their game plan, and we didn’t generate much.”

Connor Rankin opened the scoring for Calgary just 1:42 into the game as his long shot beat Oil Kings netminder Tristan Jarry high off his glove.

Jake Virtanen made it 2-0 for the Hitmen just 1:18 later as the Hitmen won an offensive-zone faceoff on a power play and Virtanen fired a shot from the top of the circle that beat Jarry.

The Hitmen expanded the lead again in the third period as Connor Rankin found Adam Tambellini with a cross-ice pass on a power play and Tambellini one-timed it into the Edmonton net 3:04 into the period. Tambellini added his second of the game less than two minutes later, and Terrell Draude rounded out the scoring for the Hitmen midway through the period.

Shields made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season in net for Calgary. Jarry finished with 20 saves in a losing effort.

The Oil Kings will be back in action Tuesday night as they return to Rexall Place to take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes.