Sunday, September 21, 2014

Edmonton 4 ICE 2

Andrew Koep's two-goal performance, including a game-winner inside the final four minutes helped the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Kootenay ICE Saturday at Rexall Place.

Koep, making his WHL debut, fired a shot home from the slot at 16:02 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie and hand the ICE a split of their two-game weekend in Alberta.

Kootenay started brightly, opening the scoring on a power-play goal from Alexander Chirva at 7:34 of the first period. It was the first goal in an ICE uniform for the Russian, who spent last season with the Moose Jaw Warriors.

The Oil Kings equalized before the period was through, as Cole Benson tapped home his first goal of the season with 5:17 remaining to level the score at 1-1.

Kootenay goaltender Wyatt Hoflin was the busier of the two netminders Saturday, and turned aside 16 of 17 Edmonton shots in the opening frame. The Oil Kings had four power-plays including a minute-long two-man advantage in period one.

Koep put his mark on the proceedings late in the second period, giving the Oil Kings a 2-1 lead before first-year blueliner Bryan Allbee beat Edmonton netminder Patrick Dea and the buzzer with a one-timer with just 2.4 seconds left on the clock. It was the Prince George, BC product's first career WHL goal.

The ICE enjoyed more offensive zone time in the third period, but were unable to beat Dea despite enjoying a five-on-three of their own. The teams remained level until Koep's tie-breaking goal gave the Oil Kings a 3-2 lead.

Tyler Robertson added an empty-net goal in the final minute to complete the scoring.

Kootenay successfully killed six of Edmonton's seven power-plays, with the Oil Kings' lone power-play goal coming through Robertson's insurance marker.

Hoflin made 32 saves in the ICE goal, while Dea stopped 18 of 20 Kootenay shots to record his first WHL victory.

Veterans Austin Vetterl and Levi Cable each chipped in with assists for the ICE.

1. Andrew Koep, Edmonton
2. Wyatt Hoflin, Kootenay
3. Cole Benson, Edmonton

UP NEXT: The ICE complete a stretch of three consecutive games away from home Saturday, September 27th in Red Deer. Kootenay plays only one of its first eight regular-season games at Western Financial Place.

From Chris Wahl