Oil Kings 4 Rebels 0
(Edmonton leads series 1-0)
The Red Deer Rebels weren’t able to get going offensively as they began the second round of the WHL Playoffs Thursday night.
Goaltender Sebastian Cossa made 18 saves as his Edmonton Oil Kings shut out the Rebels 4-0 in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
“I don’t think it was our best performance. I think our players would agree with that,” Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk said after the game.
“We’re going to turn the page and we’ve got to get reset.”
The Oil Kings nearly doubled the Rebels’ shot output. Red Deer finished the game with 18 shots, while Edmonton had 35. Konowalchuk said the Rebels didn’t bring the energy needed to generate consistent offence.
“We can sit and probably name a bunch of different reasons, but it doesn’t matter. You ‘re not going to create much if you don’t have the energy and you’re not playing up to your capabilities,” he said.
“We’ve got to look at what we didn’t do right, correct it and go from there. If you play the right way, the way you’re supposed to, the offence will come.”
The Oil Kings scored the first goal of the series about 10 minutes into Game 1. While on the powerplay, Oil Kings defenceman Kaiden Guhle carried the puck through the Red Deer penalty killers, snaked behind the net and passed the puck to Dylan Guenther, who beat Rebels goaltender Chase Coward to the glove side with a one-timer.
Red Deer forward Liam Keeler, a former Oil King, exited Thursday’s game after taking a hit from Dawson Seitz. The Edmonton forward was given a two-minute penalty for hitting from behind. Red Deer was unable to score with the man advantage.
Simon Kubicek doubled Edmonton’s lead thanks to a lucky bounce at 6:23 of the second period. Rebels forward Ben King blocked a shot by the Oil Kings defenceman. The puck was going wide, but it hit Red Deer’s Jace Weir and trickled into the net.
At 14:49 of the second, Jakub Demek took a big hit to set up Guhle for his third goal of the playoffs to make it 3-0 for Edmonton. Oil Kings forward Dawson Seitz added another goal for his team about two minutes later when he tapped a rebound past Coward.
Goaltender Connor Ungar entered the game for the Rebels at the start of the third period. He stopped all seven of the shots he faced. Coward made 23 saves on 27 before being pulled.
The three stars were Kaiden Guhle (1), Dylan Guenther (2) and Jake Neighbours (3).
Game 2 will be played in Edmonton Saturday night. The Rebels will host the Oil Kings for Game 3 on Monday at the Peavey Mart Centrium.