Edmonton, AB – Saturday night’s showdown between the Edmonton Oil Kings and Medicine Hat Tigers at Rexall Place certainly added more fuel to the intense Central Division rivalry, as the teams battled back and forth all night long with the Tigers eventually prevailing 6-5 in a shootout.
The Oil Kings jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead after the first period, but the Tigers replied with three straight of their own to start the second, off-set by one more Edmonton goal to give the home side a 4-3 lead after two. Medicine Hat tied it up to start the third, only to see Edmonton regain the lead. But Kellan Tochkin netted the equalizer for the Tigers with 1:44 to go and then scored the winner in the shootout as well.
Mark Reners scored his third and fourth goals since joining the Oil Kings at the WHL trade deadline, and Colton Stephenson also found the back of the net to spot the home side the 3-0 first period lead. WHL scoring leader Linden Vey factored in on all three Tigers goals to tie it up, but Ryan Dech blasted home a point shot to make it 4-3 Edmonton after two.
Cole Grbavac scored the equalizer for Medicine Hat 1:32 into the final frame, but Dylan Wruck deflected in his team-leading 26th goal of the year to put the Oil Kings ahead 5-4 with 3:59 remaining. Tochkin’s tying goal forced OT, and he, Hunter Shinkaruk and Tyler Pitlick scored in the five-round shootout, while Jordan Hickmott and Kristians Pelss converted for Edmonton.
Both goaltenders had busy nights between the pipes, as the Oil Kings peppered Tyler Bunz with 43 shots, while Jon Groenheyde made 29 saves in net for Edmonton, with several of the saves of the highlight-reel variety. There were also two fights between the rivals, as Edmonton’s Klarc Wilson and Cam Abney duked it out with Medicine Hat’s Cole Grbavac and Thomas Carr, respectively.
“We had a great first period and got ourselves a lead but then got undisciplined and let them back in it in the second,” Oil Kings Head Coach Derek Laxdal said. “Medicine Hat is a great hockey club, but we had a chance to finish this off in regulation and get two points tonight, but we couldn’t do that and came up just short with only one point to show.”
Next up for the Oil Kings (22-22-0-3) is the toughest test of the season so far during their home schedule, as the Saskatoon Blades are in town on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Rexall.
The Blades currently lead the WHL with a 34-10-0-2 record and also feature Canadian World Junior players Brayden Schenn and Curtis Hamilton. It’s also another K-97 and 96.3 Capital FM Wiener Wednesday, as hot dogs are just $2 all night.
Tickets to every Oil Kings home game are available starting at just $15 at any Ticketmaster outlet, online at oilkings.ca, or by calling 780-414-GOAL (4625).