With the 2019-20 WHL season now underway the Edmonton Oil Kings a team that people didn’t have on their radar as a team to watch for now knows the sights are set on them by many in the league.
The group from the capital of Alberta this past week would make sure to get their season on the right foot with a pair of wins against a divisional rival and let everyone know that last year’s run won’t be a one-season thing.
The Oil Kings would get the season going down in Red Deer and a few familiar names would strike on the scoresheet down south.
Red Deer would open up the scoring to kick this season off but the Oil Kings would have a very strong response. Edmonton would come back with three unanswered, two coming from new captain Scott Atkinson to give the visitors a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Brett Davis would get one back for the Rebels but Dave Kope would seal this one late in the third for win number one on the season.
In between the pipes, Dylan Myskiw would turn away 27 shots in the victory.
On Sunday afternoon the Oil Kings came looking for the series sweep and they’d get a pretty strong start to help that effort.
Riley Sawchuk would pounce on a loose puck at the feet of Red Deer’s Ethan Anders and tuck his first of the season into a wide-open cage late in the period. Newcomer to the North American game in the form of Jesse Seppälä, (taken in the 2019 CHL import draft) would get on the board early in the second and the guys in red, white and blue were rolling. Chris Douglas would cut the Edmonton lead in half but Liam Keeler would pounce on a big rebound kicked out by Anders to restore the two-goal lead.
A little fisticuffs would get things going in the third as Edmonton’s Jalen Luypen would square off with Red Deer’s Ethan Rowland in a tilt that I’d give the slight edge to Luypen.
Scoring wise, things would stay quiet until Sawchuk iced things with an empty netter for his second goal of the game to give Edmonton two wins over a division rival right off the jump.
After the final buzzer, head coach Brett Lauer was pleased with his team’s effort on Sunday and also gave praise to the newcomer in Seppala on his play so far with the Oil Kings.
“Jesse’s done well for a smaller guy. He’s a good skater, he’s very skilled. He can shoot the puck. He plays in those high traffic areas, he doesn’t shy away from going to those hard areas. When you’re a smaller guy and you do that you’re going to get your fair share of opportunities”.
-Even though there were 15 powerplays in this game, neither team converted on the man advantage with the Rebels going 0/7 while the Oil Kings went 0/8.
-Jesse Seppälä’s first goal in the WHL also made franchise history as he became the first Finnish player to score in Oil Kings history.
Tonight the Oil Kings now the #4 ranked team the CHL poll face the Calgary Hitmen at the Saddledome. Calgary comes into this one as one of two teams who’ve only played one game so far in WHL action. In Calgary’s season opener they fell 3-2 in Overtime to Swift Current. In the OT loss, the scoring would come from Carson Focht and Egor Zamula.
After tonight’s game, the Oil Kings will be back in action at Rogers Place on Sunday afternoon against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.