The Edmonton Oil Kings drilled through the Kootenay Ice with a 5-1 win on Saturday night at Western Financial Place.
Oil Kings forward Curtis Lazar led the way with a goal and two assists, while Sam Reinhart notched the only marker for the Kooteany squad.
Edmonton jumped up to a 2-0 lead late in the opening period, and built on their lead with a second period effort and a pair in the final frame.
It was the third time that the Reinhart siblings of Sam and Griffin clashed this season, a mere few days after playing on the same Team WHL squad for the Subway Super Series.
Griffin, who is Edmonton’s captain and property of the New York Islanders, earned an assist on Lazar’s goal.
“I think the key was that we got off to a good start, we were getting pucks on net and we had a couple goals that went in early,” said Reinhart. “Especially after last night [a 2-1 win over Lethbridge], we were snake bitten early and didn’t get them till late, it was good to get off with the lead.”
Sam Reinhart broke the shutout for Edmonton netminder Tristan Jarry in the last 10 minutes of the game on a shorthanded breakaway.
Edmonton did a slick job of keeping the Ice on the outside, which resulted in only 23 shots on the Oil Kings crease guardian. Mackenzie Skapski took the loss for Kootenay, turning away 27 pucks.
Edmonton also killed it with their transition game, which took advantage of Ice turnovers to generate quick, sustained pressure.
“It’s tough to win games when you don’t have the puck,” said Ice blueliner Jagger Dirk. “Get the puck into their zone, but if we can’t put the pressure on them and keep it in their zone, it leads to transition goals—I think they scored a couple.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of initially getting it in, but we didn’t put enough pressure on their defenceman, they where able to wheel and make a pass and come back right away.”
Brandon Baddock struck first for the Oil Kings late in the first period. Just over a minute later, Lazar tipped Reinhart’s point shot for a two-goal lead.
After taking four penalty minutes all season, Sam Reinhart was slapped with a two-minute minor and ten minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Over the course of the game, Landon Peel and Tim Bozon also earned 10-minute misconduct infractions.
In the second period, Aaron Irving beat Skapski from the blue line, while a teammate also had a disallowed goal on a puck that was batted in on a high stick.
Jaedon Descheneau had Kootenay’s best chance with the puck all alone in front of Jarry, but the Edmonton goalie stayed patient and made the save. Jarry also flashed the leather to make a sharp save on Reinhart, who came down on a shorthanded odd-man rush.
“To score on a guy like him, you have to shoot the puck lots and get him moving side to side,” said Descheneau. “He’s a world-class goalie, one of the best in the league.”
Import Edgars Kulda made it 4-0 for the Oil Kings in the third period, before Descheneau sprung Reinhart for a shorthanded breakaway to get Kootenay on the board.
Brett Pullock finished off the scoring, picking up a loose puck after Reid Petryk drove to the net.
“We weren’t ready to play,” said Dirk. “I thought we had a good week of practice, but you can practice as much as you want, there’s a difference between practice and a game.
“We didn’t come out the right way we wanted and we didn’t improve throughout the game, which was our goal, and that’s why we lost.”
NOTES: The Ice hit the road on Sunday night to begin a five-game road trip through the B.C. Division. Mike Dyck was on the bench for the Edmonton contest. Dyck is assisting Jay Henderson while bench boss Ryan McGill takes off for the World Junior Championships over the Christmas break. Ice defenceman Tanner Faith finally returned to the lineup after missing the last 21 games with an upper body injury. It was also BMO Ultimate Fan night, and Bev Sansom answered all the trivia questions correctly and will have a chance to win a trip to the MasterCard Memorial Cup in London, Ont.