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The Edmonton Oil Kings’ recent road trip through British Columbia was a grind. They managed to get points in three of the five games and grabbed two wins. The fact that they dropped their last three games on home ice before the nearly ten-day road trip certainly put a damper on things. 

Now, the team is riding a three-game winning streak since returning to Rogers Place and once again looking like the group that got off to the best start in franchise history.

Their streak started with a tight 5-4 victory over the Calgary Hitmen in which they erased an early 2-0 deficit and got goals from five different goal scorers. Getting strong depth scoring continues to be the biggest strength of this team.

Play-by-play voice Andrew Peard made a great point on the last broadcast saying that at times, it feels like a lot of WHL teams only have two lines. I agree with his point. There are a lot of teams that lean very heavily on their top-six and sparingly give meaningful minutes to their depth players. The Oil Kings aren’t like that. Head Coach Brad Lauer can rely on any one of his four lines on any given night.

The team followed up their tight victory over the Hitmen with 7-1 thumping of the Regina Pats. Once again, six different players found the back of the net. A win over a rival and then a blowout victory seemed to give them back the swagger they had early in the season.

They kept the momentum rolling on Tuesday night with a 3-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. The big story out of this one was the debut of Carson Latimer, who was a third-round pick in 2018, who made a big impact early on. 

In his first shift, on his first shot, Latimer found the back of the net.

“I went into the boards hard and then the puck popped out and then there was a shot on net and I was able to get my stick on it. I saw it go in and I was freaking out a little bit,” said Latimer when reflecting on the goal, “That was probably the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”

“He probably thinks this is an easy league,” joked Head Coach Brad Lauer, who added that Latimer will stay with the group until their Christmas break.

Lauer also mentioned that the team is expected to have Captain Scott Atkinson back in the lineup for this weekend’s home and home with the Calgary Hitmen, which is a big boost.

Aside from Latimer’s goal, the win over the Warriors was honestly pretty boring. The Oil Kings possessed the puck for a large majority of the game but they didn’t generate very many dangerous looks. They did enough to win though and appear to have put an inconsistent month of November behind them.

“We still played well on the road trip, so I don’t think those losses really set us back at all,” said Brad Lauer, “we still have a lot of confidence.”

COSSA GRABS CREASE

When the Oil Kings decided to run with Todd Scott and Sebastien Cossa as their two goaltenders this season, I was a little skeptical. I was a big fan of Dylan Myskiw, who is now with the London Knights of the OHL, and thought he gave them the best chance to win this season.

But the team wanted to free up a 20-year-old slot to improve their forward core and that made sense. 

Todd Scott has been inconsistent over the last month which has meant more starts for Sebastien Cossa, who has been great in the early stages of his WHL career. In 15 games played, Cossa has a 2.24 GAA and a 0.919 SV%. 

Lately, he’s looked like a legitimate number one goaltender with four straight wins and just six goals against in that span. The extra minutes aren’t phasing the rookie.

“More minutes is something I’ve been looking forward to. I’m just going to keep playing the way I have and keep winning hockey games,” said Cossa after the team’s recent win over Moose Jaw.

“He’s going to be a first-round pick,” said an anonymous scout I spoke to at the team’s last game over Moose Jaw. 

There is serious hype around the Fort Saskatchewan product and it’s easy to see why. He’s got the one thing that you can’t teach: size. The 17-year-old is listed at just over 6’5 and 206 lbs and he takes up a lot of the net. On top of that, he has some tremendous natural athleticism and he moves very quickly in the blue paint.

Cossa has gotten the start in every single one of the teams’ last three games, allowing six goals in that span. It’s the first time in his WHL career where he has started three straight games and he hasn’t been phased by the workload.

“We met with the guys (Cossa and Scott) on the BC trip and said it’s time for someone to grab it”, said Lauer.

It certainly looks like Cossa has grabbed the job.

TEDDY BEAR TOSS NIGHT

The team gave the hockey world a look at the uniforms they’ll be rocking this Saturday when they hold their annual Teddy Bear Toss night. 

I wouldn’t call them ugly, but they are certainly different and unique, which is fantastic. Teddy Bear Toss nights are supposed to be fun and these jerseys are fun. The fur looking socks and goalie gear is just a great touch as well. Looking forward to Saturday night!