(ISN) – EDMONTON, ALTA. – The Edmonton Oil Kings didn’t show up defensively Friday night, and it cost them a chance at two points against the Regina Pats.
Edmonton (30-29-4-3) gave up two goals in 6:14 to start the game and two more in the first 5:13 of the second period to break a 2-2 tie as they fell 6-4 to the Pats at Rexall Place.
“I think we just came out slow tonight. We weren’t on our game,” said Oil Kings forward Cole Benson. “That was a problem. Whenever we’re playing hard, we can hem teams in, but we didn’t do that until the end of the game.”
The Oil Kings gave up the first of eight power-plays just 56 seconds into the game as Brandon Baddock went off for interference. Colby Williams scored on the power play for Regina, and Sam Steel added a shorthanded tally less than five minutes later to build an early Regina lead. The Pats would add another power-play goal in the third period, finishing 2-8 with the man advantage, while Edmonton went 0-3 on the power play.
“Our special teams were brutal,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton.
“It was our special teams that killed us tonight,” Benson added.
The Pats lost starting goaltender Daniel Wapple seven minutes into the game as he was shaken up on a high shot and did not return to the game. The Oil Kings took advantage of replacement Tyler Brown in the latter half of the second period as Benson and Baddock both scored to knot the game at 2-2 heading into the first intermission.
The Pats again grabbed an early lead in the second as Adam Brooks and Tayler Cooper both scored on plays around the Oil Kings net to put the visitors up 4-2.
“We didn’t defend very well in front of our net. We know they like to generate a lot of their offence below the goal line,” Hamilton said. ” That was a critical few minutes of the hockey game, where we got out-battled, and it really put us behind the eight-ball.”
Braden Christoffer made it 5-2 Regina with 4:41 to play, but Edgars Kulda scored 1:01 later and Brett Pollock tallied 28 seconds after that as the Oil Kings made it a 5-4 game. Christoffer silenced the comeback with an empty net goal with 26 seconds left on the clock.
“We had a chance. We missed the net with an inordinate amount of shots in the third period. The amount of times we had a decent look and fired it wide – there’s no second life on those pucks,” Hamilton said. “We really kicked it into gear the last couple minutes, but that’s a tough hill to climb.”
Pollock finished with a goal and an assist to run his point streak to seven games, while Kulda also had a goal and an assist. Aaron Irving chipped in two assists for the Oil Kings. Tristan Jarry made 20 saves for the Oil Kings.
Cooper finished with a goal and two assists for Regina, while Williams, Brooks and Patrick D’Amico all had two points. Brown finished with 24 saves on 28 shots, while Wapple stopped all six shots he faced.
The loss leaves the Oil Kings three points behind Kootenay and six ahead of Moose Jaw in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have a game in hand on the Oil Kings.
Edmonton will be back in action Saturday night at Rexall Place as the Calgary Hitmen come to town for Dodge Fan Appreciation Night.