ST. ALBERT, ALTA. – The Edmonton Oil Kings wanted energy out of their first preseason game Saturday night against the Red Deer Rebels at Servus Place. They got it in spades, and it came with a 5-2 victory.
“We wanted to put a premium on our energy level and enthusiasm,” said Oil Kings head coach. “We wanted to have a couple of things in our foundation we wanted to build off of, and for the most part I was happy with those.”
Lane Bauer had a goal and an assist and Brett Pollock and Jake Kohlhauser each had two helpers as the Oil Kings veterans carried the offensive load.
“Any time you come out with a win in the first game, it’s good,” Pollock said. “We had a lot of energy and a lot of jump, and it’s good for the young guys to get their nerves out in a game like that, too.”
While the Oil Kings dressed 11 rookies, including both goaltenders, two of those rookies were European imports Anatolii Elizarov and Dario Meyer. Additionally, goaltender Alec Dillon, 19, has experience in the USHL and BCHL, while forward Colton Kehler spent two years in Junior A in B.C. Dillon stopped all 10 shots he faced, while Elizarov had an assist and Kehler had Edmonton’s first goal skating alongside Pollock and Bauer, the Oil Kings’ two leading scorers last season.
“We were quite a bit older than they were tonight, so you would expect to see a little bit of change in the tide over the course of the game with us being a little bit more experienced, but a good first game nonetheless,” Hamilton said. “We understand there’s going to be some rounding in to form for everybody, and I liked Alec’s start. I thought he had a good, calm presence in net. Certainly (we got) contributions from all over.”
Kyle Yewchuk, Brandon Ralph and Garan Magnes also scored for Edmonton, while Carter Phair stopped 13 of 15 shots splitting goaltending duties with Dillon.
Akash Bains and Adam Musil scored for Red Deer, while Dawson Weatherill stopped 29 of 33 shots faced.
The Oil Kings will be back in action Sunday night as they head to Lloydminster for the Border Battle with the Saskatoon Blades. Game time is 6 p.m. at the Centennial Civic Centre.