Oil Kings 3 Rebels 0
The shots on goal read 33-32 in favour of the Edmonton Oil Kings, suggesting that Saturday’s Western Hockey League contest at Rexall Place was decided by a bounce or two.
Rebels head coach/vice-president of hockey operations Jesse Wallin had a different take on the game, one that didn’t shed much positive light on his team.
“To be honest, I didn’t think we played very well. In fact, that was probably the worst game we’ve played all year,” Wallin said Sunday, looking back at the Oil Kings’ 3-0 win.
“Really, we didn’t play well at all. Right from the drop of the puck, we just weren’t mentally sharp. I think we went into the game just expecting it was going to be an easy night, and there are no easy games in this league.”
Michael St. Croix notched the only goal the Oil Kings needed — a power-play marker 7:51 into the game. Dylan Wruck upped the count to 2-0 just 40 seconds later and then added another goal — his ninth of the season — at the 11-minute mark of the second period.
The Oil Kings, who improved to 8-13-0-1, were one-for-five with a man advantage. The Rebels, who fell to 14-7-1-1, were zero-for-four.
“Every team goes through one of those games. It was inevitable that it was going to happen at some point,” said Wallin. “Certainly I think the guys are well aware of what happened and they’re not very happy about it.
“But I think it’s a good lesson for them. You can’t afford to take nights off because there’s too much parity in the league. Give Edmonton credit — they moved the puck well, they finished checks and they played with a lot of speed. They just outplayed us last night, plain and simple.”
Oil Kings netminder Laurent Brossoit was a force, stopping all 32 shots that he faced. Dawson Guhle, making his first start for the Rebels after being acquired from the Regina Pats last week, made 30 saves.
“Dawson was fine. He had no chance on any of the three goals they scored,” said Wallin.
“On all three there were guys left wide open in front. Nobody touched them.”
The Rebels will have to get their act together in a hurry with the Kootenay Ice invading the Centrium Tuesday for a 7 p.m. start. The Ice sit first in the Central Division, two points ahead of the Rebels.
“Last night’s game was a good wake-up call. Maybe it’s a good thing that it happened,” said Wallin.