The Edmonton Oil Kings rang in the 2016 New Year with a 4-3 overtime win over the Eastern Conference leading Brandon Wheat Kings.
Lane Bauer had a goal and assist and Davis Koch collected two assists while goaltender Payton Lee stopped 21 shots for his second straight win in an Oil Kings uniform. But it was Davis Koch who provided the fireworks (before the actual New Year’s Day celebration fireworks fans were treated to post-game) when he snapped one home on a breakaway past Wheat Kings netminder Jordan Papirny.
“That was a pretty big one, yeah,” said Koep. “The guys are getting more relaxed. They’ve been in this situation before. They just knew what had to be done and went out there and did it.”
The Wheat Kings (23-11-2-2) got on the board just over two minutes into the game when a James Shearer point shot snuck behind Lee.
Halfway through the middle frame The Oil Kings Colton Kehler netted his seventh on the season when he redirected a Ben Carroll pass past Papirny. They appeared to take a 2-1 lead minutes later when captain Brandon Baddock batted one in out of the air, only to be waved off due to a high stick. The Wheat Kings Tim McGauley finished off the second period with a beautiful backhand top shelf on a 2-on-0.
Thanks to a goaltender interference penalty late in the second period, the Oil Kings drew even 2-2 with a power play goal from Bauer, his team-leading 19th, assisted by Dustin Mayo and Brett Pollock. The Wheat Kings replied 10 minutes later with a Nolan Patrick wrist shot from the blue line that found its way through a scrum of players past Lee.
But Pollock answered back when he sniped a wrist shot top corner with an extra attacker on the ice with 1:07 remaining in the third sending the game to overtime.
Bauer had a glorious chance in the first minute of overtime just missing the top corner on a 2-on-1 break. But the hero of the day, Koep, sent the crowd into a frenzy when he scored his 8thof the season helping keep head coach Steve Hamilton’s New Year’s resolution intact.
“Just win more games than we did in 2015,” said Hamilton. “I thought the second period was excellent. We kept the pressure going forward, which is something we talked about as being a key to our game plan.”
Hamilton was pleased with his team’s ability to continue to bounce back throughout the game.
“I liked our guys’ resolve after the timeout in the third period. We said nobody else is going to feel sorry for us, we just need to keep going and play. Obviously we got that 6-on-5 and great play by Davis to pop that puck to Brett and he snapped that one home.”
The Oil Kings (16-19-4-0) will look to get their second win of the New Year vs. the Tigers (13-20-3-1) tomorrow when they travel to Medicine Hat for a 7:30 pm start.