Friday, September 21, 2012

WHL lid lifter fit for a Hall of Famer

The Oil Kings opened up the season in fine style, and that was even before they skated past a pesky Kootenay Ice club 5-3.  They celebrated just enough the season of success that was last year.

Keep in mind they lost their last game.  Had they won the Mastercard Memorial Cup you can bet the celebration would have been over the top. That's possibly for a year from now.

Thursday night's celebration wasn't too long and it involved Mark Messier dropping the puck with former Oil Kings captain Mark Pysyk and Rhett Rachinski entering from the zamboni end with the Ed Chynoweth Cup, just like 'The Moose' did when his number was retired by the Oilers in 2007.

From there the banner went up and a ceremonial face off took place with a Messier and two Reinharts.

Photo: Andy Devlin
As for the game it was Keegan Lowe who stole the show notching the "Gordie Howe Hat Trick". His fight was interesting. I looked like Lowe and Jeff Hubic were going to get it on before being ushered into the box with unsportsmanlike penalties.  So they had two minutes to come up with a plan, and stage a fight.  Or so it seemed as immediately after leaving the box they scrapped.  It was a good and quick one.  Was it staged? Sort of, but according to the rule it has to happen after a face off.

Lowe blasted a point shot off a Kootenay dman and set up two others. Michael St. Croix scored the first goal of the WHL season, putting away a rebound.

Give Kootenay credit, they pushed the Oil Kings who learned that there won't be any relaxing during periods this year.

Laurent Brossoit made a couple of great saves look easy and caught a bad bounce, as did Ice pipeman MacKenzie Skapski.

Oil Kings are back at it Sunday when Red Deer is in town. 2 pm, you can hear the game with Corey Graham and Kent Simpson on the TEAM 1260, and make sure you tune into Corey's new show, this Saturday at 5 pm on the TEAM. He'll have the Oil Kings covered in a half hour.  Corey will also join TPS Saturday morning at 11:45 to discuss the show and preview the Sunday matinee with the Rebels.

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