MOOSE JAW, SASK. – It’s been tough sledding for the Edmonton Oil Kings on this first road trip of the season as despite another gritty effort and sensational goaltending by Liam Hughes, they lost their second in as many nights falling to the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2 in overtime Saturday night.
The Oil Kings got exceptional goaltending from Hughes, who started his first WHL career game, and goals from Davis Koch and Jesse Roach but the Warriors’ Jayden Halbgewachs had a pair of goals including the OT winner sending Edmonton out with a single point.
“It was a gritty effort,” said Oil Kings assistant coach Ryan Marsh. “I thought Liam gave us a chance to win with some key saves. When it was 2-0 he made some huge saves and down the stretch he was great. We had our chances but unfortunately we were not able to get that second point.”
The Warriors got on the board first half way through the opening period when their captain Brett Howden scored. About three minutes later Halbgewachs made it 2-0 firing one past Hughes. Davis Koch answered back a couple minutes after with his first of the season when he ripped one past starting Warriors netminder Brody Willms. Trey Fix-Wolansky and Brayden Gorda collected the helpers.
The second period saw the Oil Kings take three penalties and struggle to generate shots but Quesnel, BC native Jesse Roach took it upon himself to tie things up stripping the Warriors defence of the puck and roofing it over WIllms for his first of the year late in the frame. Hughes was outstanding stopping all 12 shots that period including many point blank saves.
Neither team scored in the third so it was off to extra time for the third time in the first four games this season for the Oil Kings. Edmonton had a glorious chance to end it in the opening seconds when Aaron Irving lifted a 180 foot pass from one end to the other for a streaking Koch but Willms denied him. Halbgewachs then ended it a couple minutes later with a quick shot that got behind Hughes.
Hughes saw a ton of rubber stopping 40 of 43 shots in the losing cause. The Oil Kings were 0/4 on the PP but continued their dominance on the penalty kill going 5/5 tonight.
Edmonton wraps up their third game of a three-in-three with an afternoon 4pm game tomorrow in Prince Albert where Marsh is hopeful they can build off this effort.
“We can’t worry too much about the turn around. It’s a part of the WHL and we have to be confident in our conditioning and keep the game simple tomorrow and find a way to get two points to make this a .500 road trip.”
You can catch the game on TSN 1260 with Corey Graham.