(ISN) – BRANDON, MAN. – The Edmonton Oil Kings drew first blood in their first-round match-up with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The Oil Kings took away home ice from the Wheat Kings, skating to a 4-1 victory in Game 1 in Brandon Thursday night.
The Oil Kings slowed the WHL’s top offensive, outshooting the Wheat Kings 34-26 and holding Brandon in check on the rush.
“Right from our goalie out we were solid,” said Oil Kings captain Ashton Sautner. “We had a game plan of squeezing them at the blue line and eliminating their speed and attack on offence.”
“They’re extremely explosive in transition, and so we didn’t want to be in the business having transition pucks laid out on a platter for them,” added Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “It’s a game plan we’ve had all year; I think the guys have absorbed that and have a good feel.”
Tristan Jarry made 25 saves for the victory, including a tremendous stop on Rihards Bukarts in the first period when Bukarts appeared to slip the puck five-hole but Jarry swept his back leg across the goal-line to keep the puck out. Jarry also robbed Eric Roy on a back-door opportunity in the third.
“Tristan was outstanding tonight. Made some critical saves at some key times. Full credit to him, that’s why he’s here. That’s why he’s our guy,” Hamilton said. “(Those saves) are game changers. They really are.”
“He gives us so much confidence just knowing he’s back there. The saves he made tonight, I don’t know how he does it,” added Brett Pollock, who finished with two goals and an assist on the night.
The Oil Kings opened the scoring just 11 seconds into the game as Tyler Robertson scored off a face-off in the Brandon zone, beating Jordan Papirny high on the glove side.
Pollock added his first of the game at 11:55 of the first period, turning in the slot and firing a shot that redirected off a Brandon player and into the Wheat Kings net.
“We wanted to come in here in Game 1 and set the tone for the series, and I think we did that,” said Pollock. “Robertson’s goal 11 seconds in was huge for us, and we kept rolling from there.
“I don’t think we could have asked for a better start.”
Peter Quenneville tallied with 2:17 to play in the second period to get Brandon on the board, setting up in the slot and converting on a nifty passing play to cut the lead to 2-1.
Edmonton responded just 1:35 into the second period as a scramble in front on the power-play led to a Pollock tap-in to restore the two-goal lead.
Lane Bauer added his first career playoff goal midway through the third to round out the scoring, blasting a one-timer past Papirny.
Dysin Mayo chipped in with a pair of assists for the Oil Kings.
Edmonton and Brandon are back in action in Game 2 Friday night in Brandon. Puck drop is 6:30 p.m. in Edmonton.