It’s been almost two years, but fans and media are finally allowed back at Rogers Place, as the Edmonton Oil Kings start their campaign. Edmonton is hoping to win their third straight WHL Central Division Championship, coming off a shortened COVID-19 season where they were heads and shoulders above the rest of the division. Optimism is high and the players have routinely talked about “unfinished business”. Most of the team is back from NHL training camps as the Oil Kings had a total of 9 players at camps.
Dylan Guenther was one of those Oil Kings who excelled at Arizona Coyotes camp as the former first round pick finished camp far and away the best rookie, as expected. Guenther had a goal and an assist in the Coyotes preseason game against the Kings, his goal was the game winner.
On the other side of the ice is the Red Deer Rebels, who through the preseason has eye-tested extremely well. Red Deer is coming off of a 4-win campaign in the shortened bubble season. However, acquisitions in the off-season have brought them back up to speed and I would expect them to be much improved.
Josh Williams opened the scoring for the Oil Kings 15:34 into the first period off a nice cycle feed from Carter Souch and Jakub Demek.
Jacob Boucher would continue his amazing start with the Oil Kings early in the second period, roofing a breakaway 2:37 into the second period. Wiebe and Cossa would grab the assists.
That would be as good as it gets for Jaxsen Wiebe’s night. Wiebe would get 5-minutes and a game misconduct for “headhunting” putting the Oil Kings on a long penalty kill which they would kill off.
Josh Williams would cap off his performance with two goals in the third for an opening night hat trick.
Cossa would turn away 31 straight shots before being scored on late in the third period, ruining his shutout bid. However, it was enough for the Oil Kings to grab a win on opening night.
Edmonton Oil Kings – 4 | Red Deer Rebels 1
SOG – EDM – 32 | RDR 36
Edmonton starts off their title defense campaign with a win over the Red Deer Rebels. Edmonton and Red Deer will do it all again tomorrow in Red Deer to finish off a home-and-home series.