ST. ALBERT, ALTA. – The final preseason game is in the books for the Edmonton Oil Kings and now it’s time to focus on what really matters: the regular season.
Despite a 5-4 loss to the Saskatoon Blades Saturday night the Oil Kings refused to back down physically and looked feisty finishing their checks against the Blades.
“We want to be hard to play against this year,” said Hamilton. “Part of that will be pace on puck and part of that will be physicality; a relentlessness of your group that you would want and I thought we saw all of those elements in play tonight.”
Saskatoon opened the scoring with 30 seconds left in the first when Jesse Shynkaruk scored on the powerplay putting one past starting netminder Patrick Dea.
Vancouver native Scott Atkinson evened things up for the Oil Kings in the middle frame when he tipped in a Jordan Dawson shot past Saskatoon goalie Brock Hamm. Brayden Gorda has the second assist. However, the Blades answered quickly with Mason McCarty scoring twice and Josh Bruce once bringing the score to 4-1 after 40 minutes.
Things got interesting when Branden Klatt scored his third of the preseason five minutes into the third period. Newcomer Trey Fix-Wolansky and Dawson got the helpers. Colton Kehler then went in on a breakaway 40 seconds later and was hauled down resulting in hockey’s most favorite play…the penalty shot. And Kehler did not disappoint the fans at the Servus Credit Union Place deking out Hamm and going five-hole drawing the team to within one.
Shynkaruk potted his second of the night midway through the period and that was all the Blades needed as Edmonton only got one more – a beautiful one at that – when Wyatt McLeod took a Dawson breakout pass and streaked in tucking it in along the ice. The assist was Dawson’s third of the game.
The Oil Kings will now have just under a week to prepare for the season opener on Friday September 23 in Red Deer against the Rebels and the much anticipated Rogers Place home opener on Saturday September 24 also against Red Deer.