Oil Kings now in must win mode

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(ISN) – EDMONTON, ALTA. – The Edmonton Oil Kings gave up a pair of second period goals and couldn’t find a way to claw back Wednesday night, dropping Game 4 of their first round playoff match-up with the Brandon Wheat Kings 3-2 to fall behind 3-1 in the series.

Brandon scored at 8:24 and 13:45 of the second period, breaking a scoreless deadlock and building a 2-0 lead the Oil Kings couldn’t recover from.

“I wasn’t as pleased tonight as I was on Sunday. I thought we went off the grid a few times and that really hurt us,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “We couldn’t afford some of the breakdowns.”

“We took our foot off the pedal a little bit … and as soon as you do that, you give them opportunity and they’re going to bury their chances,” added Oil Kings captain Ashton Sautner.

The Oil Kings had a strong first period, but despite outshooting the Wheaties 14-6, had nothing to show for it after the first period. Tyler Coulter and Rihards Bukarts’ goals turned the tide for the visiting Wheat Kings.

“I thought we came out strong. I thought we had them on their heels in the first period, but that let up the rest of the game,” said Oil Kings defenceman Dysin Mayo. “You can’t win hockey games against teams that are offensive like them with only two goals in a game.”

Andrew Koep scored his first career playoff goal in the final minute of the second to cut the lead to 2-1 heading into the intermission, but Nolan Patrick got his first of the playoffs just 36 seconds into the third period to restore the two-goal lead for Brandon.

Brandon Baddock added a late goal with the extra attacker out, but the Oil Kings would get no closer, as they struggled to muster offence.

“We can always do more with our 14 or 40 shots that we get,” Hamilton said. “That’s our challenge. It’s been our challenge all year.

“If there’s rebounds generated, it just doesn’t seem like we’re working to get enough inside position, and that’s so key for us.”

Jordan Papirny made 34 saves to get the win for Brandon, while Tristan Jarry stopped 30 shots in the Edmonton net.

The Oil Kings now face elimination in Game 5, which goes Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at Rexall Place.

“It stings a lot, but we’ve just got to prepare for tomorrow. We’re certainly not out of the series; it’s not over yet,” Sautner said.