Title: Oil Kings beat Wheat Kings and end the year with a bang
Date: December 31, 2012
Original Source: The Edmonton Journal
Synopsis: I am doing a short internship over the holidays at The Edmonton Journal. My latest piece was post-game report from an Edmonton Oil Kings Junior A hockey game. This article appeared did not appear in the Edmonton Journal print edition, as there was no Jan. 1 edition.
EDMONTON – A few hours before the ball dropped to signal the start of 2013, Henrik Samuelsson and the Edmonton Oil Kings closed out a successful 2012 with a bang, defeating the Brandon Wheat Kings 6-2 on Monday night.
The year included a WHL Championship in May and a first-place standing in the Eastern Conference at the turn of the calendar. The New Year’s Eve victory continues the momentum the Oil Kings have built in the past few weeks, as they have now won seven of their past eight games to push their record to 25-8-2-3.
Led by a hat trick from Samuelsson and a pair of goals from Keegan Lowe, Edmonton brought the offensive pressure early and often. By the end, Edmonton had outshot Brandon 36-23 and exhausted the last place Wheat Kings with their sustained pressure and smothering penalty kill.
“At the end of the day it was a solid effort,” said head coach Derek Laxdal. “I thought we were a little sloppy at times, but New Year’s Eve is always tough to play on. For us, the biggest thing was getting the two points tonight.”
Mitchell Moroz opened the scoring halfway through the first period, depositing a Stephane Legault pass above Corbin Boes’ glove hand for his seventh of the season. Just 74 seconds later, Samuelsson crossed the blue-line and let go with a laser of a wrist shot that beat Boes on his blocker side.
The Wheat Kings would answer with one of their own before the period let out, as Laurent Brossoit stopped the first two shots but was beaten by Tim McGauley on the third attempt.
The second period was more of the same, with the Oil Kings pounding Boes with 18 shots. Lowe, the team’s acting captain with Griffin Reinhart in Russia for the World Juniors, kept a clearing attempt in at the blue-line and beat Boes with a point shot about four minutes in, making the score 3-1.
A scramble in front of Boes saw the puck squirt behind the net to Samuelsson, who stepped out and shelved a wrist shot off one foot for his second of the night.
The Oil Kings continued the onslaught on a power play opportunity early in the third, extending the lead to 5-1 when Samuelsson feathered a pass across the top of the circle to Lowe, who beat Boes with a low wrist shot for his second of the game and eighth of the year.
Samuelsson would then finish his first career hat trick, dancing into the middle of the ice on a 5-on-3 power play and beating Boes blocker side once again. The three-pack gives Samuelsson a team-high 22 goals on the season.
“I try not to pay attention to that,” said Samuelsson. “It’s fun to finally have a hat trick. I think I’m playing pretty well right now, and I’ve just gotta keep that up.”
The Wheat Kings would add a late marker to close the score out at 6-2.
With the game in hand, both teams started the New Year’s fireworks a little early, as Travis Ewanyk dropped the mitts with Tyler Yaworski and Klarc Wilson and Ayrton Nikkel danced just a few minutes later. Ewanyk and Yaworski would rough each other up a second time late in the period while Brandon Baddock and Eric Roy fought nearby to send the crowd of 9,328 home happy.
“Things happen in the moment,” said Lowe. “We have guys who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Stuff like that happens in hockey.”
With Calgary losing to Kootenay Monday in concert with the Edmonton win, the Oil Kings’ Central Division lead is now extended to three points.
The Oil Kings will start the new year with a few days off before heading to Lethbridge on Thursday.