Oil Kings sink Hitmen

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:59 AM ET

Michael St. Croix has a good memory.

The Edmonton Oil Kings young gun vividly remembers taking it on the chin every time his team came to the Saddledome last season.

It appears he’s on a one-man payback mission.

St. Croix scored a hat-trick and added an assist as the Oil Kings beat the Hitmen 5-2 at the Dome Wednesday night.

The draft-eligible centreman has five goals and

10 points in four games against the Hitmen this season.

“Last year, every time we’d come here, they’d give us a pretty good kicking,” St. Croix said of the Hitmen, who had a winning streak of 16 games against the Oil Kings snapped last month. “This year, there’s always a chance to win. Playing against this Calgary team, you want to keep them below you in the standings.”

Alex Roach and Kris Foucault scored for the Hitmen (7-21-2), who fell

12 points behind the Oil Kings, who hold down the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

T.J. Foster had a goal and two assists and Marek Hrbas also found the back of the net for Edmonton (13-14-2).

The Oil Kings took a

4-2 lead early in the third period when Brandon Glover, making his first start in front of the home crowd, couldn’t handle a long point shot.

Foster jumped on the rebound for his ninth of the season, and Michael Snider replaced Glover between the Hitmen pipes.

St. Croix finished off his hat-trick on an Oil Kings powerplay to round out the scoring.

Jon Groenheyde kicked out 22 shots for the win.

The Hitmen got the start they were looking for when Roach snapped a point shot through traffic past Groenheyde just 31 seconds after the opening faceoff.

It was the rookie blueliner’s first career WHL tally.

“We had a rough start in the first period, but it was a good team effort tonight,” St. Croix said. “I guess we got the bus legs out and were able to battle through.”

The Hitmen held the Oil Kings at bay as the visitors didn’t register their first shot until past the eight-minute mark. But one breakdown was all it took for the Oil Kings to hit the scoreboard.

Foster won a board battle and then found St. Croix alone in the slot. The 17-year-old sniper one-timed his 16th of the campaign past Glover’s blocker.

Stephane Legault nearly put Edmonton on top with a brilliant coast-to-coast rush but slid a shot off the outside of the net.

As fast as the Hitmen started the first period, the Oil Kings were even quicker off the draw in the middle frame.

Hrbas, on a near carbon-copy of Roach’s goal, floated a shot past a thoroughly screened Glover just 26 seconds in.

The Hitmen tied it back up a few minutes later when Foucault faked a slapshot, got Oil Kings centre Travis Ewanyk to slide on the ice, and then ripped a wrister over Groenheyde’s blocker for his third goal in as many games.

But the hosts failed to seize any kind of momentum as St. Croix put the visitors back out in front just 33 seconds later, cashing in on a pass in the crease.

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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