Oil Kings strike first

Round 1 goes to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Edmonton Oil King Rhett Rachinski fights Red Deer Rebel Aaron Borejko during the Oil Kings 3-1 win on Friday.

Oil Kings 3 Rebels 1

EDMONTON — Round 1 goes to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

The Red Deer Rebels and Oil Kings are going to see a lot of each other over the next couple of weeks and if Friday night’s contest was a preview of what’s coming, expect the feistiness to only pick up.

The Oil Kings won the fight-filled WHL game 3-1 but the Rebels will be rarin’ to even the score in tonight’s rematch at 7:30 p.m. at the Centrium.

“It’s back in our building now and we want to finish on a strong note here (before Christmas),“ said Rebels coach Jesse Wallin. “We’ve got to respond to tonight, we weren’t as good as we had to be and we get the opportunity to get right back at them tomorrow and I expect a much better game.”

But it was a game the Rebels ultimately shouldn’t have lost. They out played their hosts through much of the game, with all three Edmonton goals coming off of turnovers and two coming on the man-advantage.

“It’s a tough game to play when you’re not moving your feet, your not skating, and we didn’t do that through the first part of the hockey game and when we did start to get going there, we handed them all of their goals,” said Wallin.

Edmonton opened the scoring on Teddy Bear Toss Night at Rexall Place six seconds into a five-on-three power play at the 10:50 mark of the second period. Mark Pysk stopped a Rebels’ clearing attempt off the face off and fed a pass over to Lane Werbowski who fired a shot through a screen to beat Darcy Kuemper in the Red Deer net.

The Rebels tied the game five minutes later when Willie Coetzee took advantage of an Oil Kings’ turnover and went top shelf on Torrie Jung in the Edmonton net for his 16th goal of the season.

The Oil Kings made it 2-1 on another power play at 18:10 of the middle frame on a Rebels’ defensive break down as they failed to clear the front of the net allowing the Oil Kings several chances to poke the puck home and Dylan Wruck finally did.

Edmonton got a little breathing room at 4:15 of the final period when Rebels defenceman Alex Petrovic turned the puck over at the blue-line and set the Oil Kings up in prime scoring position once again — Brent Raedke firing a rebound five-hole on Kuemper for his 17th goal of the campaign.

The game featured four fights — Red Deer’s Turner Elson against Travis Ewanyk in the first; Red Deer’s Aaron Borejko and Oil Kings captain Rhett Rachinski, and the Rebels’ Josh Cowen and Red Deer product Cam Maclise in the second period; and Rebels captain Colin Archer and Rachinski in the third period — and several cheap shots, including an Adam Kameitz cross-check to the face of an Oil King a hit from behind by Edmonton’s Keegan Lowe both in the third period.

Penalties killed the Rebels as they went 0-3 on the man-advantage while Edmonton went 2-for-5. The Rebels also took two late penalties that killed any hope of a last-ditch rally.

“It was chippy, it’s a divisional game and there seems to be some intensity that way,” said Wallin. “We’ve got them tomorrow, then we play three games and we have them twice more after that. This was the first game we’ve seen them this year so we will see them a fair bit over the second half.”

NOTES: Jung finished with 25 saves for the Oil Kings while Kuemper made 27 saves for the Rebels . . . Josh Cowen left the game in the second period with a concussion. He is listed as being day-to-day.

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