EDMONTON, ALTA. – It was a quick start to 2015-16 for the Edmonton Oil Kings, but it devolved into a slow finish.
Brett Pollock scored the first goal of the season 40 seconds into the first game for the Oil Kings, but Edmonton couldn’t find the net again as they fell to the Red Deer Rebels 4-1Saturday night in Red Deer.The Oil Kings outshot Red Deer 10-5 in the first frame and finished the first 20 with a 1-1 tie after goals from Pollock and Michael Spacek, but managed just 14 shots the rest of the game as Red Deer finished with a 33-24 advantage on the shot clock.“The Rebels won all the critical battles in all of the difficult areas tonight,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton.
“They were winning battles in front of the net and getting to loose pucks.”Pollock opened the scoring on the second shift of the game, picking off a pass at the Red Deer blue line and wiring a shot past Rylan Toth into the top corner of the Rebels net. The Oil Kings had some chances on a couple of power plays to end the first period, then struggled to generate offence in the second half of the game.“We can’t sustain pressure without the puck and we didn’t have the puck nearly enoughtonight,” Hamilton said.“It’s a short turn around to Sunday afternoon, so we need to reset with a more determined approach. There are some positives to build on, and our guys know they must be better.
”Spacek scored twice for Red Deer, including once on the power play, while Grayson Pawlenchuk and Jeff de Wit also scored for the home side.Toth made 23 saves for the victory, while Alec Dillon stopped 29 shots for the Oil Kings in a losing effort.The two teams will be back in action Sunday afternoon as the Oil Kings host the Rebels for their home opener at Rexall Place. Puck drop is 4 p.m., with the first 3,000 fans in attendance getting a free Oil Kings mini-stick. It’s also a Family Fun SUNday presented by the Edmonton Sun and Motts Fruitsations, with a kids’ carnival, face painting and a full team autograph session after the game. And for the adults, the 50/50 will feature a rollover pot from the 2015 season, making the jackpot for the draw start at over $8,000.