December 5, 2022
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Edmonton Oil Kings rise to top of Eastern Conference with win over Tigers – SaltWire Network

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It was a tale of two teams at Rogers Place on Wednesday.
While the Medicine Hat Tigers have had their proverbial tail between their legs on the way to the Western Hockey League’s worst record, the Edmonton Oil Kings have been doing nothing short of loading up their roster for a championship run.
And with their eyes on that prize, the Oil Kings weren’t at all interested in winning anything they haven’t earned along the way, putting together a 6-2 victory.
“You’ve got to respect your opponent, no matter who you’re playing,” Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer said prior to opening puck drop, of a Tigers team that came in having won two of its last three.
But there are no foregone conclusions in a league where anything can happen, as the Oil Kings proved last week, having suffered a season worst 8-1 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors before bouncing back to shut out both the Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes on the weekend.
That sent them into Wednesday’s game with an impressive 13 unanswered goals over their five previous periods, and they would made it 17 straight before the streak came to an end.
The win pushed the Oil Kings to an East Conference leading 30-10-2-1, while the Tigers bring up the rear at 9-27-3-1.
YOUNG GUEN(THER)
Three of those were scored by Dylan Guenther in Sunday’s 6-0 win over Lethbridge, giving the first-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes eight goals in seven games coming into this one.
“He likes to shoot the puck. Credit to him, he likes to shoot it and that helps,” Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer told the team webcast, adding the 18-year-old Edmonton product doesn’t try to be too flashy. “We’ve moved him between centre and right-wing and he has adjusted well.
“He’s got to keep actively moving and when he does, that’s when he’s going to be successful.”
Guenther got in on Wednesday’s opening goal, feeding Kaiden Guhle for a sizzling point shot that found its way through traffic and past Garin Bjorklund 9:14 in for the lone goal of the first period.
MAKING HAYE
Making his first start in the 2022 calendar, Kolby Haye was tested on an ensuing man-advantage by Medicine Hat. The 17-year-old backup to Sebastian Cossa last saw the ice in that forgettable loss to Moose Jaw, where he got some third-period relief in, only to be pelted for four goals on 10 shots.
But he rebounded in a big way Wednesday, earning his third win of the season against Medicine Hat as a starter. He made 18 saves on 20 shots.
BJORKLUND’S BACKUP
The second period started with a shot from Jake Neighbours that went off a stick, got behind Bjorklund’s left shoulder, bouncing off the crossbar before being scooped out of the crease by Ashton Ferster, but video review showed the puck fully crossed the goal-line.
Before Neighbour’s goal could finish being announced, the Oil Kings’ Jalen Luypen made it 3-0 with a point-blank blast, before Guenther had a pass go off of defender Reid Andresen and into the net, making it three goals in a span of 70 seconds before the middle frame was even five minutes old.
It led to Beckett Langkow replacing Bjorklund in the Medicine Hat net after making eight saves on 12 of Edmonton’s 47 shots.
Langkow would face 18 more before the period was done, including a handful of quality chances, not the least of which saw him slide backward across his crease to get a pad on what would have been John Szabo’s fourth goal of the season – all of which would have come against the Tigers.
OWN GOAL
The visitors made it onto the scoreboard, but not without some help. Edmonton’s shutout streak ended after seven clean periods, when the Tigers cashed in on a second-period power play. Guhle accidentally tapping in a rebound past Haye, who was all ready to corral a bank off the end boards with his glove. The goal ended up being awarded to Daniel Baker.
Medicine Hat cut the lead in half 3:36 into the third period with a shot from the top of the circle by Rhett Parsons.
But any momentum the Tigers took from the change in goal was wiped away by Guenther’s second goal of the night, this one on the power play with a one-timer from Neighbours to lead 5-2.
Then it was Neighbours’ turn to punch in a one-timer from Guenther on the power play for his second of the night to put the home side ahead by four once again.
E-mail: [email protected]
On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2022
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