It’s a battle of Alberta rematch as the Hitmen (20-26-8-2) host their provincial rival the Edmonton Oil Kings (20-33-3-1) tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome (7 p.m., SN960THEFAN).
The Oil Kings snapped a 16-game losing skid against the Hitmen last Sunday in a 3-2 overtime win.
It wasn’t the first time the Oil Kings had edged the Hitmen in OT this season. Edmonton’s last win prior to their slump was against Calgary, another overtime win, on New Year’s Day.
Beck Malenstyn (23-18-41) scored his 23rd goal of the season against Edmonton on Sunday and thinks payback for the overtime loss is due.
“Being a division rival and the battle of Alberta, it’s always a big game between them,” said Malenstyn. “I think we were frustrated with the loss there, we definitely had our chances and the bounces didn’t exactly go our way so we’re looking to respond here on Friday.”
The Oil Kings continued their winning-in-extra-frame ways on Wednesday, defeating the Kootenay Ice 3-2. Edmonton currently sits in fourth place and six points behind Calgary in the Eastern Conference wild-card standings.
Despite the loss Sunday, the Hitmen grabbed a single point and sit three points behind the Saskatoon Blades for the second and final wild-card position in the Eastern Conference. With the Blades visiting the Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday afternoon, this weekend is pivotal for the Hitmen’s post-season hopes.
Coach Mark French says his team is aware of the importance this weekend has on their playoff implications.
“We’re probably all mindful within the room of where the standings are and feel somewhat that we control our own destiny,” said French. “We have two games left against Saskatoon and three against Red Deer so there are a lot of things that fall within our hands.”
Tyler Robertson struck at 1:12 into overtime to lift the Oil Kings to a 3-2 win over the Hitmen last Sunday at Rogers Place.
Davis Koch and Trey Fix-Wolansky also found the back of the net for Edmonton.
Jake Bean and Beck Malenstyn replied for the Hitmen.
Webcast: WHL Live
Hitmen Season Record: 20-26-8-2
Oil Kings Season Record: 20-33-3-1
Hitmen Power Play: 17.9% (18th)
Hitmen Penalty Kill: 74.4% (20th)
Oil Kings Power Play: 17.7% (19th)
Oil Kings Penalty Kill: 76.1% (18th)
Season Series: Tied 2-2
Goals – Matteo Gennaro (34)
Assists – Matteo Gennaro (30)
Points – Matteo Gennaro (64)
Power Play Goals – Matteo Gennaro (11)
Shorthanded Goals – Tyler Mrkonjic (1)
Game Winning Goals – Matteo Gennaro (4)
Plus/Minus – Jameson Murray and Matt Dorsey (-1)
Penalty Minutes – Micheal Zipp (81)
Wins – Cody Porter (11)
Goals Against Average – Cody Porter (3.49)
Save Percentage – Cody Porter (.890)
Shutouts – None
Oil Kings Leaders:
Goals – Davis Koch (17)
Assists – Davis Koch (40)
Points – Davis Koch (57)
Power Play Goals – Colton Kehler (8)
Shorthanded Goals – Davis Koch (2)
Game Winning Goals – Graham Millar (5)
Plus/Minus – Wyatt McLeod (+2)
Penalty Minutes – Tyler Robertson (75)
Wins – Patrick Dea (18)
Goals Against Average – Liam Hughes (3.26)
Save Percentage – Liam Hughes (.895)
Shutouts – Patrick Dea (1)