RECAP: Oil Kings drop pre-season opener to Hitmen
Enoch Cree Nation, AB – The Edmonton Oil Kings opened their pre-season schedule in front of a near capacity crowd on Saturday night as they welcomed the Calgary Hitmen to the Enoch Community Centre on the Enoch Cree Nation.
The game opened with a performance from by Enoch’s own River Cree Singers, a land acknowledgement from Enoch Cree Nation councilor Leigh Ann Ward and the Canadian National Anthem sung in Cree by Christina Hollingworth. All proceeds from the game supported the Enoch Cree Hockey Association.
In the first period, Oil Kings rookie netminder Jake Pilon stood tall stopping all 13 Hitmen shots to keep the game scoreless through 20 minutes of play.
Pilon’s first tough save came six minutes into the game when he denied a rebound chance by making a sliding right-pad save. Minutes later, he came up with a trio of saves during a goalmouth scramble in the Edmonton crease. Before the period was out, he thwarted the Hitmen on a two-on-one opportunity making a sprawling save with his right leg.
The Oil Kings tested Hitmen goaltender Ethan Buenaventura with 10 shots of their own but were unable to solve the veteran keeper in the frame.
After neither team found the back of the net in the first period, they would combine for half-a-dozen in the middle stanza with three each.
The Oil Kings got on the board first after Landon Hanson set up a pinching Blake Fiddler for a backdoor tap-in just 4:29 into the period.
The Hitmen quickly answered thanks to a breakaway tally by Caron Wetsch but the tie would only last 24 seconds after Luke Powell restored the Edmonton lead after picking off an errant outlet pass by the Hitmen and ripping a shot past the glove of Buenaventura from the top of the left circle.
After Brandon Gorzynski levelled the score at two with 7:14 left in the period, Aidan Litke gave the Oil Kings their third lead of the game on an Edmonton power play after he pumped in a one-timer from the right-circle on a setup from Jacob Hoffrogge and Gavin Hodnett.
Before the period was out, the Hitmen clawed back for a third time after Connor Bear converted on a cross-ice feed from Hunter Aura.
A penalty-filled third period would see little in terms of scoring chances until Keets Fawcett would roof a shot with just 40 seconds left in regulation to secure a 4-3 win for the Hitmen.
The Oil Kings finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Hitmen were 0-for-5. The Hitmen outshot the Oil Kings 34-32 (Pilon 21sv/24sh, Logan Cunningham, 9sv/10sh).
The Oil Kings continue their pre-season schedule tomorrow afternoon in Red Deer at the Peavey Mart Centrium when they take on the Rebels at 2:00 PM. The game will be available to watch for free on CHL TV.
The Oil Kings are Edmonton’s first choice for family fun with great seats starting at $20 and season seats for as low as $299 for an entire season of thrilling WHL action!
Head to OilKings.ca to secure your seat in #TheKingdom today!