In the early stages of the 2018/19 season, the Oil Kings were plagued by inconsistency. They started the year with a five-game winning streak and then proceeded to lose eight in a row during their first road trip of the season. That trend continued for a few months.
That feeling when there are still 5 days until the next home game.
Get your tickets for this weekend back at @RogersPlace!
Sunday https://t.co/Tom4QUms0l pic.twitter.com/7HFzDgXM28
— Edmonton Oil Kings (@EdmOilKings) October 7, 2019
After starting this season 2-1-1-0, the Oil Kings hit the road for their first extended trip away from Rogers Place this week hoping to fair a lot better than they did during their first trip of the year last season and so far, so good.
They started things off with an overtime loss in Swift Current but they looked good. They got off on the wrong foot, giving up two goals within a minute in the first period, but quickly rebounded to tie the game thanks to goals from Vlad Alistrov and Carter Souch.
Souch would add one more in the second period before Connor Horning ended the game in OT and sealed up a victory for the Broncos.
Next, they travelled to Winnipeg for their first game against a young Ice team that is in their first season in a new city. Edmonton cranked up the offence and walked away with a 7-0 victory but don’t let the high amount of goals for take anything away from young Sebastien Cossa who stopped a total of 40 shots in his WHL debut.
Todd Scott followed it up with a 39 save performance against the Brandon Wheat Kings the next night. On the season, Scott now has a 2.94 GAA and a 0.904 save percentage.
GM Kirt Hill took a bit of a chance going with Todd Scott over the older, more proven Dylan Myskiw between the pipes this season. However, the bet he made is looking pretty good right now. I think Scott is very capable of being a number one goaltender in this league but I believe you need to have a good backup attached to him. The performance from Cossa on Friday, who is viewed as the goaltender of the future of the Oil Kings, gives me good reason to believe the team has a very solid one-two punch between the pipes.
There are plenty of other positives with this team right now. They’ve rattled off two straight road victories and have looked good doing it. As I said, goaltending has been solid, stopping 104 of the 109 shots they’ve faced through three games. Their depth continues to be a strength as well. They’ve got 12 goals from eight different scorers during the road trip and so far on the season, they have eight players with at least two goals.
They’re getting contributions from every part of their lineup early in the season, which is not something you could have said a year ago.
On the negative side, they are giving up a lot of chances and that number needs to drop. In their loss to the Hitmen a week ago, they gave up close to 30 scoring chances. That just cannot happen. I’m not sure if they need to go out and add a defenseman or if getting Matt Robertson back into mid-season form will be enough to help them out. But it’s my biggest area of concern with this team. The goalies have been good, but they could be better if the group in front of them was a little bit sharper in their own end.
Next up for the Oil Kings is a trip to the Brandt Centre in Regina to take on the struggling Pats, who are just 1-6-0-0 on the season. From there, they’ll head to Moose Jaw to wrap up their road trip.
There’s one more area that I wanted to touch on. When the team returns home this weekend, their broadcast crew will be different.
The good news is that play-by-play voice Corey Graham will return to the booth after missing all of last season with an incredibly tough back injury. You can read more about it HERE.
I’m beyond excited for CG to get back in the booth. He’s done so much to help me out in my time covering the Oil Kings and he’s loved by everyone in that building. Last season, there was hardly a game that went by where I didn’t have someone come up to me and ask about how Corey was doing. Whether it was a security guard, a member of the organization, or a WHL employee. Bottom line: it will be great to have Corey back on the TSN 1260 broadcasts. He will call the home games, while Andrew Peard will handle colour commentary duties at home and do the play-by-play on the road.
Unfortunately, this means that Guy Flaming will no longer be a part of the broadcasts and that straight-up sucks. Sitting up in the booth next to Guy for the last three years was a blast. From his puns and incredible Teddy Bear Toss calls to the numerous laughs we had behind the scenes, the booth won’t be the same without Guy there. You’d be hardpressed to find someone who’s as passionate and knowledgable about junior hockey as Guy is. With that said, if you’re a fan of junior hockey and haven’t subscribed to The Pipeline Show, you should!