The Edmonton Oil Kings have advanced to the WHL Final for the fourth time in ten years.
Carter Souch and Jake Neighbours scored three goals in 55 seconds in the first five minutes en route to a 7-1 win over the Winnipeg ICE. Souch scored at 4:05. Neighbors got his first of two goals at 4:52 to make it 2-0. Then after an ICE timeout, it took eight seconds for the Oil Kings captain to pounce on the puck and score. Neighbours’ two goals in eight seconds are the second-fastest in WHL playoff history.
The Oil Kings were not done in the first. At the 10:18 mark of more relentless pressure, Kaiden Guhle took a one-timer from Luke Prokop to make it 4-0. That ended Gage Alexander’s night. In came Daniel Hauser.
Any hopes of an ICE comeback in the second period were stifled by a) getting only two shots in the second and b) Oil Kings getting three goals in the period. Souch got his second at 6:57. Guhle got his second at 17:09. Jakub Demek added a powerplay goal at 19:11. The third was academic as Connor McClennon ended Sebastian Cossa’s shutout bid at 17:20.
Offensively, Souch had two goals and two assists. Normally, Dylan Guenther is known for goals, however, this time, he had four assists while Guhle picked up two goals and an assist. Demek added a goal and an assist. Josh Williams had two assists. Cossa made 19 saves on 20 shots.
For the ICE, Alexander made five saves on nine shots. Hauser made 25 saves on 28 shots. It’s a tough way for the number one team in the regular season to go out. They were 53-10-3-2 for 111 points this season.
It’s been an impressive playoff run for the Oil Kings. They are 12-1. This included 7-0 at home. They have outscored their opponents 57-27 through the playoffs. In this series, they were led offensively, by Guenther with nine points (4G, 5A) and Souch with eight points (4G, 4A). Cossa was 4-1 with a 3.00 GAA.
The Oil Kings will await the winner of the Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds. This is the first time they will not face the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL Final.