Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Oil Kings big guns overpower Raiders in Game 3

The Oil Kings celebrate one of their goals in a 5-1 win on Tuesday.
    EDMONTON, Alta. – The Edmonton Oil Kings top line looked like they were auditioning for the 1980s Edmonton Oilers.
    The unit of captain Trey Fix-Wolansky, overage centre Vince Loschiavo and left-winger Quinn Benjafield combined for three goals and six assists to deliver the Oil Kings to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday in Game 3 of the WHL Eastern Conference Championship series.
    With the win before 6,807 spectators at Rogers Place, the Oil Kings took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. local time at Rogers Place.
    “I thought we were playing well and moving our feet and moving pucks quick,” said Loschiavo, who had a pair of goals and an assist. “That is when we are at our best is when we are playing fast.
    “I think we have to keep that going here, and we should have success. Right from the first period, I thought we were getting chances. A couple of them didn’t go in.
Vince Loschiavo had two goals and an assist for the Oil Kings.
    “In the second, we started to find our game and find the back of the net. It is good.”
    After a scoreless opening frame, the Oil Kings top line got rolling in the second period. Just 87 seconds into the frame, Benjafield sprung Loschiavo into the Prince Albert zone on a breakaway and he snapped home the opening tally to give the hosts a 1-0 edge.
    At the 9:48 of the second, Loschiavo and Fix-Wolansky set up offensive defenceman Conner McDonald on a backdoor feed on a tic-tack-toe passing play and McDonald buried a shot to give the Oil Kings a 2-0 advantage.
    Working on the power play, the Oil Kings big line struck again at the 14:48 mark of the second. Benjafield got the puck to Fix-Wolansky, who fed a beauty backdoor feed to Loschiavo.
Trey Fix-Wolansky had three assists for the Oil Kings.
    Loschiavo made no mistake burying his second goal of the contest to give Edmonton a 3-0 lead.
    “It was unreal,” said Fix-Wolansky, who had three assists on Tuesday. “We were clicking.
    “We found each other when we were open and banged a couple home.”
    The Oil Kings captain said his line had more room and opportunities to make plays on Tuesday skating at the Rogers Centre, which has a bigger ice surface than the Raiders home rink in the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert.
    “Coming back here, there is a little bit more time and space,” said Fix-Wolansky. “I think that worked to our advantage.
    “I think it was better for us tonight to able to make plays and have that time and space.”
Quinn Benjafield had two assists on Tuesday night.
    Having held the line of Fix-Wolansky, Loschiavo and Benjafield to one goal in the first two games of the series in Prince Albert, Raiders captain Brayden Pachal didn’t want to see them get rolling in Edmonton.
    “I think they got a couple of even strength goals,” said Pachal. “A lot of their offence has come off the power play.
    “Our penalty kill has to do a better job. Special teams again tonight, they won that battle. I think just forget about this one and move on for tomorrow.
    “We have to have that mindset that it is a must-win game tomorrow, and that is what we are looking to do tomorrow.”
    Sophomore defenceman Matthew Robertson scored on a point shot with 66 seconds remaining in the second to put the Oil Kings up 4-0.
    The Raiders managed to halt the bleeding with 0.2 seconds remaining in the second, when overage centre Sean Montgomery scored on the power play to cut the Oil Kings lead to 4-1.
Montgomery’s goal wasn’t able to trigger a Prince Albert comeback.
    Sophomore centre Josh Williams rounded out the scoring for Edmonton in the third with a power-play goal.
Brayden Pachal and the Raiders took one on the chin.
    Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer was pleased to see his top line have a special night.
    “It doesn’t matter what level you play at if your top line is not going to be going, you are not going to be going far,” said Lauer. “I thought today our guys were going.
    “It is big for the rest of the series. We don’t rely on them every night either. One thing that we’ve been able to do this year is get contributions from all four lines.
    “That is the biggest part of our team right now.”
    Ian Scott made 34 saves to take the loss in goal for the Raiders. Dylan Myskiw turned away 28 shots to pick up the win in net for the Oil Kings.
    Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said his team looked off on Tuesday and wasn’t able to find an early traction point to get going.
    “We just looked tired a little bit,” said Habscheid. “I think first period we looked tired, second period and then for some reason at the start of the third we found our legs a little bit.
    “It is something we can draw off of. I think if we would have scored early that might have helped. It is amazing when you get a goal all of sudden you find your legs, and we didn’t find the goal.
Netminder Ian Scott makes one of his 34 saves in goal for the Raiders.
    “We had some good chances in the second, when they got up by one. We had some good chances, point blank chances to tie it. We didn’t and they went from there.”
    Prince Albert finished first overall in the WHL’s regular season posting a 54-10-2-2 record and was rated second in the final CHL Top 10 rankings. As a result, the Raiders are pegged as favourites in the Eastern Conference final against Edmonton.
    The Oil Kings topped the Central Division and finished fifth overall in the WHL standings with a 42-18-4-4 mark, and they were an honourable mention in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
    Fix-Wolansky said the players on his team have developed a self-confidence that they can get the job done against the Raiders.
The Oil Kings celebrate their victory on Tuesday.
    “Everybody in that room believes in ourselves,” said Fix-Wolansky. “We believe in our team.
    “Other people might say we are the underdogs, but we don’t believe that one bit.”

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