EDMONTON - It’s one thing to draw it up on the board. But even better when you get to see it executed.
The grinders grinded for the Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday and the scorers scored in a 5-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes at Rexall Place.
But it was defenceman Adrian Van de Mosselaer who did it at both ends.
Better known for banging bodies into boards, the 20-year-old banged home two highlight-reel goals.
Pinching in, Van de Mosselaer admitted, wasn’t really part of the game plan.
“No. I was coming off the bench and Hammy (assistant coach Steve Hamilton) was screaming at Stixie to not pass that puck to me. But it was coming to me and I figured I’d make the most of it,” he said of his second goal, the Kings’ fifth that capped off a sniff of a third-period comeback by the Canes. “Late game, that is an iffy play.
“I’m sure glad it worked out the way it did because the coaches will be a little happier, than if it didn’t.”
No problem there.
“Vandy had a great goal on the first one and then a great coast-to-coast rush on the second one,” said head coach Derek Laxdal.
“I think our five D really rose to the challenge,” he said of the unit depleted by Friday’s injury to captain Mark Pysyk.
The first cahallenge was when the puck dropped.
The Oil Kings coaching staff put together a line to try and stop the Hurricanes combination that chewed them up on Friday.
Cam Braes, Brody Sutter and Austin Fyten had seven points between them in the 6-3 win Friday in their own barn.
But Rhett Rachinski, Colton Stephenson and Jordan Hickmott closed the barn door early on the Canes, and for most of the rest of the game, as the Oil Kings secured some revenge on the Canes.
“They did do a good job of executing (Saturday) night. We challenged them to step up and they did,” said Laxdal.
Home-ice advantage helped. Especially in front of the biggest crowd of the season at 8,316.
“In Lethbridge, we didn’t have that last change and couldn’t get the matchups we wanted.
“Hicks and those guys really rose to the challenge. And (the whole lineup) didn’t give them anything offensively.”
The Oil Kings had the distinct shot advantage, 51-21.
Edmonton made it 2-0 early the second with a passing combo worthy of a Spain build-up in the World Cup. There were at least four passes that clicked before Michael St. Croix fired one at Lethbridge goalie Brandon Anderson who had it dribble down between his pads where Kristians Pelss pounced on it in behind Anderson.
If goal No. 2 was super-sized tic-tac-toe combo, goal No. 3 was a tic-tac-toe converted by the super-sized D-man.
Van de Mosselaer had pinched in and Dyan Wruck found him on the opposite of Anderson for a two-touch pass-and-goal.
“If we could bottle what we got (Saturday) night, we’d definitely pour that out again on Monday,” Laxdal said of next week’s three-games-in-five-nights homestand.