Hard to believe that this was Edmonton’s first visit to the Enmax Centrium since the opening weekend of the regular season way back in September. Plenty of incentive for both teams coming into this one. The Rebels, of course, playing for their playoff lives. The Oil Kings were just two wins away from clinching the Eastern Conference pennant.
Great pace to start the game with some close calls at both ends. The Rebels would hit the scoreboard first while on the powerplay. Marc Mackenzie, who has played some solid hockey for the Rebels in recent games, netted his second goal of the season 6:37 in to the game. Tyson Ness and Cody Thiel with the assists. 1-0 Red Deer.
Things looked good for the Rebels until they got themselves into some penalty trouble later on in the first period. The Oil Kings found themselves with a 5-on-3 man advantage for 1:27 and they would capitalize, twice. TJ Foster scored his 27th of the season at 16:53 from Tyler Maxwell and Dylan Wruck. Foster would strike again just 30 seconds later for his 28th of the year from Mark Pysyk and Martin Gernat.
Then, just 94 seconds later, the Oil Kings took a 3-1 lead thanks to an even strength goal by Curtis Lazar. Kristians Pelss with the lone assist on Lazar’s 17th of the season at 18:57 of the period. Three goals in 2:04 gave Edmonton a two goal lead heading into the intermission. Shots on goal in the period were 20-12 favouring the Oil Kings.
The Rebels regained their composure and kept the high flying Oil Kings offense at bay long enough for Mason Burr to close the gap to 3-2. Burr’s 3rd goal of the season came at the 14:01 mark of the period. Dexter Bricker had the lone assist to earn his first ever WHL point. Oil Kings led 3-2 through two periods of play. Shots after forty minutes favoured Edmonton 27-20 (8-7 for Red Deer in the period).
Edmonton came close to regaining their two goal advantage early in the third. In fact, the red light came on behind Rebels goalie Deven Dubyk, but a review determined that Edmonton had not scored and it remained a 3-2 game. This helped ignite the Rebels fans even more than they already were. They were definitely doing their part to push their hometown heroes on to victory.
But in the end, the Rebels were unable to break through for the game tying goal. They were given a powerplay in the final two minutes of the third period… but Rhett Rachinksi would clear the puck out from his own zone and end up scoring an empty net insurance marker. For Rachinski it was his 26th goal of the season. Travis Ewanyk with the lone assist on the goal which came at 18:50. Ewanyk then added another empty netter at 19:53 for his first of the season. Oil Kings win 5-2. Final shots on goal were 41-26 for Edmonton (14-6 in the third period).
MOLSON CUP THREE STARS
1. Foster EDM
2. Petrovic RD
3. Dubyk RD
Next up… The Rebels make their final visit Rexall Place in Edmonton for another battle with the Oil Kings. Game time Saturday night is at 7:30pm. Catch the broadcast with Cam Moon on 106.7 The Drive starting at 7:20pm.