Oil Kings Stymied in Vancouver

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(ISN) – EDMONTON, ALTA. – The Edmonton Oil Kings generated more chances Wednesday night against the Vancouver Giants but got the same results on offence.

The Oil Kings (25-26-4-2) once against struggled to find the back of the net as they suffered a 3-1 loss to the Giants (23-29-1-2) in Vancouver.

“I felt like tonight, especially the end of the second period we won some key battles, had some good quick-release shots around the net. We had a good interior presence and got ourselves some good looks around the net,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “I’ve got to give (Vancouver netminder) Cody Porter some credit: he played well.”

The Oil Kings outshot Vancouver 32-24, but could only muster the one goal as they finished off their four-game West Coast road trip with a 1-3-0-0 record, scoring just six times in four games.

“It’s not secret our struggle to score here has been well documented and has snowballed a little bit,” Hamilton said. “I think you see it in guys around the net. They’re tight and not relaxed in key spots, and certainly that doesn’t help the situation.”

The Oil Kings struck first 9:42 into the first period as Lane Bauer burst in on the Vancouver net. Porter made the stop on Bauer’s first effort, but the Alaskan native buried his own rebound to put Edmonton up 1-0.

It was, however, all the offence the Oil Kings could drum up. Carter Popoff and Vladimir Bobylev scored 46 seconds apart midway through the second period to give the Giants a lead they would not relinquish. Popoff added an empty-net tally to seal it for the Giants.

“I think one of the key areas we wanted to focus on tonight was being less predictable in our shot sequences. We wanted to be firing from some odd angles and find a way to get that through,” Hamilton said. “I thought when we did that and caught their goalie, we generated some real decent chances. We want to try to be more explosive around the net with our release and just trying to catch goalies out of position.”

Tristan Jarry made 21 saves in a losing effort for Edmonton, as he played his 148th career game for the Oil Kings, surpassing Laurent Brossoit for the franchise record. Porter finished with 31 saves for Vancouver.

The Oil Kings will be back in action Monday afternoon as they return to Rexall Place for a Family Day matinee against the Prince George Cougars. It’s also Griffin Reinhart Bobblehead Day, as every fan in attendance will get a chance to scratch and win a commemorative bobblehead of the former Oil Kings captain. Puck drop is at an early 2 p.m. start time for the holiday Monday.