The Oil Kings lost their first game of the tournament against the Shawinigan Cataractes despite being the favorites to win every tournament. They needed to get into the winning column over the hosts St. John Sea Dogs and managed to do so despite a crazy first period where they were down 3-2 during the first 10 minutes of the game.
A fortunate delay on a play call, with St. John heading into the box with a puck that may have bounced off the glass en route to the game, gave the Oil Kings a man-advantage opportunity. Edmonton made no mistake, taking advantage of just a few seconds left on the power play.
The score remained at three for the third period, making a new 3-on-3 Memorial Cup overtime necessary. With the new game format, a hero was born when Jaxen Wiebe scored a goal in a rush to end the game with his hat-trick. Edmonton came out victorious and took their much-needed first win, even if an overtime win doesn’t count as much in the standings.
First Star: RW Jaxen Wiebe, Edmonton Oil Kings
The most unlikely of heroes, Jaxen Wiebe scored a total of 12 goals in 64 WHL games combined between his regular season and playoffs, but it was a hat-trick that night that propelled the Oil Kings to victory. After scoring three different goals, Wiebe was rewarded for playing hard and correctly throughout the game.
The 20-year-old forward brought Edmonton to the board by breaking the net and scoring the puck with a backhand that led to chaos. His second goal came in the second period and equalized to three. After Carter Soach made a great run to create a chance on goal, the puck bounced off the post and flew into the air, and Wiebe immediately caught it, put it on the stick and simply spade it from a few feet away. .
However, it was his overtime winning goal that was the best of the three. Vibe picked up speed through the neutral zone with the extra space that gives a three-on-three overtime. Once in the offensive zone, he stays outside and pumps the puck a little. Quickly remembering the puck, Wiebe simply knocked the puck out of the half-wall and beat the St. John goalkeeper with a surprise shot from a strange angle. It is very likely that Wiebe played the best game of his junior hockey career in one of the most important games of his career.
Second Star: L. W. Carter Such, Edmonton Oil Kings
From time to time in this game, Souch was the person on a mission. His ability to display speed and skill was on full display, and he wasn’t afraid to mix them up whenever things got a little iffy after the whistle. Souch has an innate ability when it comes to distance in the offensive zone, and his ability to finish from the danger zone or make a quick decisive pass into dangerous areas of the ice makes him such a deadly offensive player for WHL champions. .
Souch finished the game with a goal and two assists, including all of the Oil Kings’ major goals. After scoring two on one, Soach broke away from the defender and swept through the center of the court, opening up for a beautiful pass from Josh Williams. Soach made no mistake, shooting the puck from about ten feet. His speed and hype in the game gave him this opportunity only minutes after scoring the first goal of the game.
Soach’s highlight may have been his second assist of the night. Making his way through traffic and attacking a slot in the offensive zone on the power play, Souch hooked three defensemen, and although he lost the puck by half a second, he jumped behind the Sea Dogs’ blue liner to retrieve it and lock the shot off the post. Wiebe caught a puck that was sent into the air off the post and dug it in to even the score. None of this would have happened were it not for Suuch’s hustle and determination, which was on full display in the Oil Kings’ overtime win.
Third Star: C Josh Lawrence, Saint John Sea Dogs
Lawrence was active all night, getting into the attack zone all night and creating chances. He was an absolute star at the faceoff point, making 20 of 26, scoring a goal and providing an assist in the game to help St. John take the lead after being two goals down early in the game. St. John’s did an excellent job of dictating the play all night, and Lawrence did more than his fair share of work. The only player in the game to finish the competition with more shots (six) than on goal was Will Dufour, junior hockey’s leading scorer that year, who later added his goal. Lawrence was on the ice today, leading the way with a goal and an assist.
Lawrence scored both of St. John’s first two goals to help level the score in the first seven minutes. His assist was excellent as he cut through the net and redirected the pass through the back door to the front of the net for Raivis Christian Ansons to score. Edmonton goalkeeper Sebastian Kossa slid to Lawrence and had no chance of it. to stop and make a save going the other way.
After scoring a tie goal just a couple of minutes later, the 20-year-old center made a great backhand on the puck that had just been left in the attacking zone. Shifting from left to right and picking up the shot from tight, the puck just whizzed through Cossa and was taken down by the sprawling Oil King defenseman. Not every goal will be a flashy goal, but Lawrence’s game, brought to the puck, was pretty good.