The Edmonton Oil Kings were able to secure a win in newcomer Beck Warm’s debut at Rogers Place versus the Saskatoon Blades.
The game started hot for Edmonton, with the team exploding for four goals in the opening 20 minutes and Warm shutting the door in his first period with his new club.
The Oil Kings scored in bunches. The first marker came from young phenom Dylan Guenther on the power play. The goal brings Guenther up to 14 on the season and has him tied for third among Oil Kings in goals scored.
Liam Keeler followed it up for Edmonton after David Kope won a battle behind the net and was able to find Keeler all alone in the slot. Keeler buried his shot past Nolan Maier to extend the lead.
The Oil Kings were consistently able to find gaps in Saskatoon’s d-zone coverage in the slot, which created several dangerous scoring chances. This led to Edmonton striking again in the first period as Vladimir Alistrov found space in the slot and unloaded a heavy shot past Maier to add another Oil Kings power-play goal.
Then it was Jake Neighbours’ turn to get on the scoreboard before the Oil Kings’ surge of offense came to an end. The top prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft was sprung on a breakout pass by Guenther. Neighbours was able to use his speed to separate himself from the Blades defenders and come in all alone on Maier, sneaking the puck through his five-hole.
That is where the offense came to a halt for the Oil Kings. They continued to get a few breakaway chances, including a penalty shot by Josh Williams, and generate a large number of shots on net. But the Blades appeared to make some adjustments in the second period and did a better job at keeping the Oil Kings to the perimeter of the ice.
This allowed the Blades to climb back into the game with an offensive breakout of their own in the second period, adding three unanswered goals in just over 10 minutes of play to bring the game within one.
The team’s leading scorer, Tristen Robins, opened the floodgates for the Blades. He loaded up from just above the top of the circles to put one past Warm and add Saskatoon’s first goal of the night.
It didn’t take long for the Blades to add another tally as Chase Wouters was left alone in front and sniped one home to cut the Oil Kings lead in half.
Randen Schmidt‘s first goal of the season beat Warm from a weird angle and brought the Blades back to within just one goal. This is the marker that really made the Oil Kings start to feel the pressure as they watched their four-goal lead fall apart right in front of them.
However, the newly acquired Warm stopped everything the Blades threw at him in the third period. He embraced his new teammates after the final buzzer, as he recorded his first win with the new club and extended the Oil Kings’ points lead at the top of the WHL standings.
The new guy in town seems to have been fitting in well with the Oil Kings and has an optimistic view on the success he and his new team could have this season.
“You can definitely tell that this is a group that can do something special,” stated Warm on his outlook towards joining a contending team that currently sits in first place in the WHL.
“I thought he made the stops we needed,” said Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer on his team’s new acquisition. “He made some big saves for us. I like how calm he is when he’s handling the puck, and the D (defence) to goalie exchanges were really good.”
- The three stars were 1) Dylan Guenther 2) Liam Keeler 3) Colton Dach
- Shots finished with a tally of 44-32 in favor of the Oil Kings
- The Oil Kings PP went 2-for-5; the Blades went 1-for-4
- Riley Sawchuk went 65% in the faceoff circle, winning 15 of his 23 draws
The Oil Kings head to Moose Jaw to begin their Saskatchewan road trip. They’ll face-off against the Warriors on Wednesday, Saskatoon on Friday, and Prince Albert on Saturday before returning home to Rogers Place on Friday, January 17th.