Friday, 1 February 2019

Fix-Wolansky sparks Oil Kings victory over Raiders

Trey Fix-Wolansky (#27) blocks a shot for the Oil Kings.
    PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – Trey Fix-Wolansky kick started the Edmonton Oil Kings when they needed it.
    Trailing the host Prince Albert Raiders 3-2 in a WHL regular season game on Friday night, Fix-Wolansky put his superhero cape on. While working on a power-play, the Oil Kings captain fired home a shot from the slot to even things up at 3-3 with 1:35 to play in the frame.
    He proceeded to strike for his second goal of the night with 39 seconds remaining in the second period burying a close in feed from centre Liam Keeler to put the Oil Kings ahead 4-3. From that point, the Oil Kings skated away with a 6-3 victory before 2,509 spectators at the Art Hauser Centre.
    Following the game, Fix-Wolansky said his two goals at the end of the second proved to be the turning point of the contest.
Trey Fix-Wolansky had two goals on Friday for the Oil Kings.
    “I think those were huge,” said Fix-Wolansky, whose team improved to 28-15-4-4 to remain first in the Centre Division. “Everybody was playing well at that point.
    “I think a couple of things weren’t going our way. Getting those goals and getting the momentum back that was huge for our group.”
    The draft selection of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets said he was at the right place at the right time, especially on his second tally.
    “Keels (Liam Keeler) found me backdoor and made a great pass, and I just tried to bury it,” said Fix-Wolansky, who leads the Oil Kings in scoring with 27 goals and 52 assists for 79 points. “I got a lot of help on those goals.
Trey Fix-Wolansky celebrates his second goal on Friday.
    “It really wasn’t all myself. It was good for other guys to get involved as well.”
    The Raiders were playing their first game at home since downing the Calgary Hitmen 7-3 back on Jan. 12 and entered Friday’s game after posting a 4-1-0-1 record on an extended six-game road trip.
    The hosts got out to a good start, when left-winger Cole Fonstad opened the game’s scoring at the 12:41 of the first period converting a backdoor feed from linemate Noah Gregor.
    Edmonton jumped ahead 2-1 scoring the first two goals of the second with tallies coming off the sticks of 16-year-old centre Jalen Luypen and offensive-defenceman Conner McDonald.
    With under four minutes to play in the second, the Raiders jumped back out in front 3-2 scoring two goals in a span of 81 seconds. Fonstad netted his second of the night and 20th of the season to tie things up at 2-2, and captain Brayden Pachal fired home his 13th of the campaign to give the Raiders a one-goal lead.
Todd Scott made 39 saves in goal for the Oil Kings on Friday.
    That set the stage for Fix-Wolansky to change direction of the contest moments later.
    “We talk about coming off a long road trip, and I guess we fell into that,” said Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid, whose club fell to 41-7-0-2 but still remains first overall in the WHL. “Parents weekend for some reason we have a tough time with that, so we fell into that.
    “Having said that, that is one thing. You can definitely control compete level, and I didn’t like our compete level. I just that we were easy to play against tonight.
    “You can leave all that other stuff out. We decide whether we want to take a hit to make a play, whether we want to drive the net, whether we want to battle and we choose not to tonight, and we paid the price.”
Cole Fonstad had a pair of goals for the Raiders.
    Any hopes of a Raiders comeback were doused at the 5:09 mark of the third, when McDonald rocketed home a shot from the right side boards for his second goal of the night to put the visitors up 5-3.
    That goal chased Raiders starting goaltender Ian Scott from the game having made 22 saves on 27 shots. Boston Bilous turned away all four shots he faced playing the rest of the way in relief.
    Vince Loschiavo scored into an empty net with 3:24 remaining to round out the scoring for Edmonton.
    Todd Scott turned away 39 shots in goal for the Oil Kings.
    Fonstad said it was disappointing to see how things rounded out for his side in the Raiders first game at home in almost three weeks and with the fact most of the parents of the Prince Albert players were in town to watch Friday’s game.
    “You can’t have that many negatives in a game and expect a good outcome,” said Fonstad, whose Raiders return to action on Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Moose Jaw Warriors. “We have a lot stuff to kind of put behind us, and we have to be ready to work tomorrow, or else we’re not going to get the outcome we want again.
Vince Loschiavo scored an empty-net goal for the Oil Kings.
    “We always love playing here. I think everyone was excited. It is too bad.”
    The Oil Kings head to Saskatoon on Saturday to face the Blades at 7 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre.
Friday marked the first time in three meetings the Oil Kings were able to beat the Raiders this season. Fix-Wolansky was pleased his club could break through and beat the Raiders.
    “It was super nice,” said Fix-Wolansky. “I thought we played them well the last two games.
“To get the win in this one, that was huge for us.”
    After the dust settled from Friday’s encounter, Habscheid said the best thing for his side is the fact they have to hit the ice right away to host the Warriors on Saturday.
The Oil Kings celebrate their victory over the Raiders on Friday night.
    “We can compete better than that,” said Habscheid. “We have a good character group.
“They will be better tomorrow.”

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