The Edmonton Oil Kings scored four times in the first period, then held off a furious charge by the Saskatoon Blades to earn a 4-3 win Sunday at Rogers Place in Canadian Hockey League action on Sportsnet.
Beck Warm, recently acquired by the Tri-City Americans, won his debut with the Oil Kings after making 29 saves on 32 shots. Standout rookie Dylan Guenther led the offensive performances with a goal and an assist.
It was Guenther opening the scoring in the contest. Put onto the power play, it took Guenther and the Oil Kings 14 seconds to find the back of the net. As Ethan McIndoe centred the puck, it deflected off of Guenther’s skate from outside the crease, making its way into the back of the net.
Just shy of two minutes later, the Oil Kings struck from the stick of Liam Keeler. This time it was David Kope throwing the puck out front from behind the net to an open Keeler, who quickly deposited the puck into the back of the net.
Back on the power play in the second half of the period, Vladimir Alistrov got in on the scoring fun. Taking a pass from 2020 NHL Draft prospect Carter Souch who had controlled the puck along the boards, the import forward connected with the one-time shot on a half wind-up that beat Nolan Maier to make it 3-0.
Capping off the flurry of scoring in the first was 2020 NHL Draft prospect Jake Neighbours, who score 85 seconds after Alistrov’s goal. Sprung on a breakaway by Guenther, Neighbours streaked in and beat Maier to cap off the high-flying period.
Despite the deficit, the Blades would show plenty of resolve in the second period.
Just 123 seconds into the middle period, Tristen Robins beat Warm on a low shot from above the face-off circle to the left of Warm.
Five minutes later, it was the captain Chase Wouters getting in on the scoring. Alex Morozoff and Riley McKay worked the puck out from behind the net to Wouters, who was streaking in towards the net. The connection was a perfect one, with the Lloydminster, Alta. product burying his team-leading 16th goal of the season.
The Blades would pull themselves within a goal with just shy of seven minutes to go in the second. Off an attempted shot from the point that was blocked, Colton Dach recovered it along the side boards and put it on net, where Randen Schmidt got the perfect deflection on it at the right time to put it past Warm for his first goal of the season.
Even with both teams trading offensive moments, the defences would take over in the remainder of the contest. Warm stopped all 10 Saskatoon shots in the third to close out the win while Maier stopped each and every one of the nine shots from Edmonton in the final frame.
The win moved the Oil Kings’ record to 27-7-5-2, making them the first team to surpass the 60-point threshold in the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season.
Catch the WHL in CHL on Sportsnet action from coast-to-coast next on Saturday, February 1 (1:30 p.m. MT) when the Calgary Hitmen host the Red Deer Rebels.