The Edmonton Oil Kings notched a couple of firsts, but they were left with just a single point after a 4-3 shootout loss to the Red Deer Rebels yesterday.
Edmonton rookie forward Shayne Neigum scored his first WHL goal in 40 games, and Brent Raedeke ended a long scoring drought with his his first tally in 15 games, but the Rebels overcame an early 2-0 deficit in front of 4,827 fans.
"We have yet to play 60 minutes against this team. We had a good start, but two goals in less than two minutes and then all of a sudden we are battling from behind," said Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau.
"On the first one, the guy cut to the net and we didn't want to pay the price and we let him walk to the front, and the other two were seeing-eye pucks in front of the net."
Alex Archibald once again provided the Oil Kings with a solid performance between the pipes. He made 13 saves in the opening period, his toughest coming off a Mike Scarbrough point shot that was redirected twice before reaching the net.
The Oil Kings scored the only goal of the period with Neigum's power-play marker at the 19:02 mark.
Neigum saw an increased role with Jeff Lee out of the lineup with a rib injury. The gritty forward arguably played the best game of his WHL career.
"I did feel some extra responsibility. I saw this as a good opportunity and I didn't want to throw it away," said Neigum.
"When I scored, it was like I was on top of the world, but it was disappointing we lost the shootout."
Brett Breitkreuz gave the Oil Kings a 2-0 lead just as an early power play ended in the second period. He finished off a nice three-way passing play from Tyler Hlookoff and Bretton Stamler.
However, despite the Rebels record of 10-23-4-1, they never seem to quit. Just 48 seconds later, Scott Doucet cut the Edmonton lead in half and two more goals by forwards Tomas Polak and Cass Mappin in a span of 1:13 gave Red Deer the lead.
"We just threw pucks to the net ... that's something we talk about every day, because scoring goals can be difficult," said Rebels head coach Brian Sutter.
"I think it peeved us off a bit that we were down. We had a good first period, but we found ourselves down a goal."
That seemed to suck the energy out of the Oil Kings and for the rest of the middle period and the first 10 minutes of the final frame they were only able to generate three shots on net.
But Raedeke's goal at the 15:31 mark of the third provided the Oil Kings with some much needed momentum.
"You really feel for a guy like Arch," Raedeke said of his team's goaltender. "He battles his can off every game and to see three goals like that go in where they weren't his fault, makes you want to battle for him even harder.
"It was nice to break out of my slump. I was thinking when I got that goal and tied it up it would be a nice early Christmas gift. I was losing a lot of confidence, but this goal will hopefully go a long way."
KING'S COURT: Brent Henke scored the only goal for the Oil Kings in the shootout, while Red Deer got goals from Brennan Sonne and Carter Smith ... Oil Kings defenceman Tyler Hlookoof had two assists in the losing cause ... Morgan Clark made 24 saves for the Rebels for his fifth victory of the season.