Local boy the hero

JASON HILLS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

JP Szaszkiewicz was the first of what the Oil Kings hope to be many heroes.

The local product potted a miracle goal with less than one second left on the clock last night as the new WHL team skated to a 4-3 win over the Kootenay Ice in its inaugural regular season game.

Szaszkiewicz chased a puck down in the corner and, with the clock running out, threw it on net. The puck deflected off a Kootenay stick and trickled past Ice goaltender Kris Lazaruk with less than a second left as the crowd went wild.

"I don't think I could have asked for more of a perfect way to cap off tonight," said Szaszkiewicz.

"Guys like Karey Pieper and I are going to work hard every night and the young guys followed tonight. Hopefully I can score a few nicer ones than I did tonight, but that's how I score goals - I work hard in the corners and go hard to the net."

ELECTRIC START

The electricity during the pre-game festivities carried over for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the opening minutes of the game.

Fighting nerves and jitters, they came out flying and cashed in on just their second shot in franchise history when Brandon Lockerby banged in a loose puck from the slot.

The Ice's experience helped them wrest control back. After pressuring Edmonton, Ice player Arnaud Jacquemet got the visitors even at the 18:30 mark of the first period when he blistered a shot past Oil Kings goalie Alex Archibald.

Archibald faced 12 first period shots and made some key saves in close to keep in tied after 20 minutes.

"I was proud of how the guys were able to stay focused. I think getting that first goal was a big sigh of relief and it allowed us to play a simple straight forward game," said Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau.

Kootenay took a 2-1 lead when second year forward Kevin King tallied his second point of the hockey game, chipping in a nice rebound from a Michael Stickland shot on the power play.

"I thought honestly JP (Szaszkiewicz) was the best player on the ice tonight," said Pleau.

"His work ethic and his second effort and his competitiveness was some of the best I have ever seen."

With the Oil Kings on a 4-on-3 advantage in the second period, reigning Saskatchewan Midget AAA scoring champion Craig McCallum tipped in a hard pass from defenceman Cameron Cepek to tie it at 2-2.

The Ice took the lead late in the second period when defenceman Chad Greenan pounced on a Clayton Cumiskey failed clearing attempt. His point shot found its way through traffic beating Archibald at the 15:27 mark.

"There were some ups and down and at times we gave the puck up too much, but I was happy how we handled it," said Pleau.

BREITKREUZ TIED IT 3-3

Brett Breitkreuz tied the game again at 8:34 of the third, jumping on a rebound off a Michael Hengen shot.

"Our goals were a result of going hard to the net and getting our hands dirty and the goals may have been greasy, but we'll take 'em," said Pleau.


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