The most penalized team in the Western Hockey League allowed their penalty taking ways to cost them the game.
Red Deer racked up seven minor penalties in the contest as well as a 5-minute fighting major and the extremely strong Edmonton Oil Kings took advantage three times throughout the evening.
“We take a lot of pride in our special teams in this organization and we have a lot of talented players on our power play and I think things are clicking right now, its good to see.” the game’s first star Josh Williams said following the game.
Edmonton wasted no time getting on the board in the first period.
An early Red Deer penalty gave the Oil Kings all they needed. Coming off a rush into the Red Deer end, Williams scored the first of his three goals on the night.
The Oil Kings weren’t done there, as WHL goal-scoring leader Dylan Guenther closed out the opening period with a power-play goal of his own. The goal was his seventh of the season and moved him ahead of Regina’s Carson Denomie, who has six goals.
Undisciplined penalties continued to have bite against the Rebels as the team took an early second period too many men on the ice penalty. Once again Williams bent the twine behind Ethan Anders and the Oil Kings had themselves a 3-0 lead.
Red Deer’s penalty kill on the season dropped to an abysmal 70.7% (29-for-41) over its eight games.
Despite the penalty trouble and three-goal deficit, Red Deer continued to press at five on five. Sophomore goaltender Sebastian Cossa stood as tall as his 6-foot-6.5 frame allows, for Edmonton, stopping every Red Deer attempt.
“I thought obviously two weeks (between games) definitely didn’t help us,” said Oil Kings Head Coach Brad Lauer. “You can’t simulate game competition. I thought Red Deer played us very hard, very physical. We gotta be better, they know we gotta be better. I don’t think our execution was sharp (at five-on-five). We’re gonna keep working on it.”
“Yeah, I think Red Deer had a pretty good game tonight, until the third period all we had was power-play goals. The first two periods we weren’t too happy with the way we played. We have got to be better for sure,” added Williams
The Rebels did quell their propensity for taking penalties in the third period but by that point, the Oil Kings were too much. They even outshot the Oil Kings 11-10 over the last 20 minutes.
Edmonton’s firepower was just too much on the night.
Guenther scored his second goal of the night, the first goal at five-on-five, to give the Oil Kings a four lead.
Without fans in the seats, Josh Williams’ second career hat trick did not see any hats on the ice. His goal came with just six seconds remaining in the contest.
“Josh (Williams) played well for us, he was really good on the power play, does and an excellent job supporting the pressure to get it away from pressure. He’s another guy that can really shoot the puck,” said Lauer.
“When he has that shoot-first mentality I think he can be really dangerous for us.”
Edmonton moved to 5-0 on the season for just the second time in team history, last accomplishing the feat at the start of the 2018-19 season.
Rebel Yell… Three stars on the night, 1) Josh Williams (3G,1A) 2) Dylan Guenther (2G,1A) 3) Sebastian Cossa (34sv Shutout). A clean hit by Logan Dowhaniuk on Kyle Masters resulted in a fight between Dowhaniuk and Josh Tarzwell, both could be seen in the box thanking one another for the bout. Jace Weir, Ben King, Arshdeep Bains, and Ethan Rowland had 4 shots apiece for the Rebels, Guenther had 8 for the Oil Kings. Edmonton was 3-for-7 on the powerplay, Red Deer was 0-for-3. Liam Keeler played in his 200th WHL game.