Oil Kings Have No Answer For WHL Star Cozens

Dylan Cozens was too much to handle for the Edmonton Oil Kings scoring two goals and four points for the Lethbridge Hurricanes who take an important two points away in the tight Central Division.

Fresh off an overtime defeat in Calgary the Oil Kings couldn’t right the ship dropping this one 5-2 in Rogers Place on Sunday night. Although the game was close throughout, the Hurricanes pulled through with an impressive third period scoring three goals in the final eight minutes.

“There are some areas we need to be better in, our powerplay didn’t take advantages of the chances we had and they took advantage of theirs,” said Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer postgame.

After trading chances in the first period, the Hurricanes were able to break through first midway through the frame when Dino Kambeitz banged home the loose puck from an Alex Cotton point shot. Even though the first frame was fairly even the Hurricanes were able to test goalie Todd Scott 10 times while the Oil Kings could only muster five shots after one period of action.

Edmonton started off the second much better with a goal only 1:30 into the frame. Carter Souch delivered a silky pass from the corner right to Vladimir Allistrov cross-crease and he made no mistake sliding home his first goal of the season.

Dylan Cozens, the 7th overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres made his presence felt all game long with his blazing speed and creativity. On an Oil Kings powerplay halfway through the second period, an errant pass sent Cozens on a two-on-one and perfectly wired his first of the year past Todd Scott.

“He’s a really good player (Dylan Cozens), obviously you gotta keep your eye on him and he just got the upper hand on us there,” said Oil Kings forward Carter Souch postgame.

Edmonton seemingly couldn’t catch a break a few minutes later when defensemen Wyatt McLeod rocketed a slapshot that clanged off the crossbar and on the very next shot the Oil Kings hit another post unable to solve rookie goalie Bryan Thomson who had 24 saves on the night.

But that break finally came their way at the end of a powerplay with only 21 seconds left in the second when Riley Sawchuk quickly snapped home his third goal of the season on a difficult goal-line angle. The puck bounced perfectly onto his stick after Jake Neighbours barely missed the net in the slot tying the game back up at two apiece.

Both teams couldn’t get a bounce early on in the third period after a scramble in front saw Dylan Cozens eyes light up for an empty netter but a desperation stick check from Connor McDonald deflected the puck wide.

Not long after that chance, the Oil Kings found another crossbar this time from a blistering Matthew Robertson slapshot as the New York Rangers prospect was unable to his first of the year.

Cozens continued his hot streak when he found twine again to restore the Hurricanes lead with 7:30 left in the third period. Showcasing his incredibly powerful wrist shot again, Cozens found a seam through traffic at the top of the slot putting it past a screened Scott.

With five minutes left in the frame, Riley Sawchuk found a gift in the crease but slide the puck harmlessly through the blue paint. Shortly after Tyler Hortsman almost played hero when he got a rebound in tight but was denied by a beautiful glove save from the Hurricanes netminder.

“I think we had a decent start and we kind of fell apart, our discipline wasn’t there,” said Oil Kings forward Riley Sawchuk, he’d go onto say “we had a pretty good third period but penalties killed us again.”

The Hurricanes would put the game away with two late powerplay goals from Oliver Okuliar and Calen Addison finishing off the Oil Kings by a score of 5-2.

The Hurricanes would go 2-4 on the powerplay while the Oil Kings were blanked on their four chances, something that the Edmonton coach wants to improve on going forward.

“Well its work and effort, we gotta work first and the other thing is we need to start shooting pucks. When you don’t establish shot presence it’s tough to score on the powerplay,” said coach Lauer.

The second straight loss for Edmonton drops them to 2-1-1-0 on the season and third place in the Central Division.

The Oil Kings will go on a five-game road trip through Saskatchewan and Manitoba starting in Swift Current and ending in Moose Jaw before heading home on October 12th to face the Hitmen at Rogers Place.

(Photo Credit: Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings)

Austin Connelly

24-year-old journalism student living in Edmonton. Follow me on Twitter @OzzyConnelly

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