Oil Kings squeak past Warriors

CRASH CAMERON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:25 AM ET

It couldn’t have been more appropriate than a short-handed goal.

It was busy day for the Edmonton Oil Kings’ penalty killers and they finished plus-1 on the day getting them on the board and sparking them past the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2 on Sunday afternoon.

But the PK went from solid to excellenet after captain Mark Pysyk went off for high-sticking a minute-plus into the second. Goalie Cam Lanigan’s around-the-boards clear-out found Jordan Hickmott at the blue-line and the 20-year-old centre broke out, feeding Josh Lazowski before beelining it to the net and burying a rebound.

As many, many wise hockey men have said over and over and over again: go to the net.

“That’s what our coaches are always saying,” said a smiling Hickmott.

“Guys driving to the net, getting rebounds, sometimes greasy ones. Mine was like that.

“I knew where (Lanigan) was aiming — we’re on the penalty kill, he wanted to get it out of the zone ... I knew they were trying to hold the zone so I knew I would have at least a one-on-one. I jumped past their D-man, saw Laz was ahead of his guy so I waited for him to catch up and make it a two-on-one ... tried the pass to Laz, they kind of hooked him or checked him, I tried going to the net and just poked it in.”

You never want to use your PK units as much as the Kings had to Sunday, but it helps when they play that well.

“I thought we had pretty good jump in the first period,” said head coach Derek Laxdal.

“We took some penalties, but the penalty killers did do a good job. All-around good effort from our special teams, but it starts in the back end and Cam Lanigan has been great for us these last three games.”

Hickmott’s goal tied it in the second after the first ended 1-0 Moose Jaw despite being outshot 14-7.

Calgarian Nathan MacMaster opened the scoring for Moose Jaw saying thank you to Jesse Pearson who stumbled chasing after his misguided pass inside the blue-line was gobbled up by MacMaster, who tucked a second stab at it under Lanigan.

“The first period, we were all over them,” said Hickmott. “And we came into our dressing room down one. The coaches just said keep on pressing it will happen, maybe not right away, but it will happen and that paid off in the second.”

The Kings were up 3-1 at the end of two, thanks to a pair of firsts: both rookie imports notched their first WHL goals.

The Kings went up 2-1 after Michael St. Croix hung onto the puck for a crucial split second after digging it out from behind the net to find Kristans Pelss alone in front. The import hung out Heemskerk with a nifty shift to the backhand for the import’s first goal in the Dub.

It became 3-1 when Marek Hrbas buried a point shot off a tic-tac pass combo from Hickmott and Mike Piluso.

It became 3-2 early in the third when Warriors’ captain Spencer Anderson was gifted a penalty shot.

“It’s part of the process, you know, defending the lead,” said Laxdal, saying he wasn’t biting his fingernails.

“I thought the call on the penalty shot could have gone either way. I thought it was a great play by (defenceman Griffin) Reinhart to get back. I talked to the ref after and he said, ‘From my vantage point it looked like stick-on-hand.’

“From my vantage point it looked like stick-on-stick. But the guys did a good job of protecting the lead down the stretch, not giving them much.”

david.cameron@sunmedia.ca


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