After a difficult 2017-2018 campaign, the Edmonton Oil Kings are off to a record setting start to their 2018-2019 season. The Oil Kings record improved to 5-0-0 this weekend with victories over both the Swift Current Broncos – the 2017-2018 WHL Champions – and the Calgary Hitmen – one of the Oil Kings most heated rivalries. The Oil Kings currently sit in first place in the WHL, edging the Prince Albert Raiders from the top spot through goal differential.
The Oil Kings strong start has been driven by several key players. Trey Fix-Wolansky is tied for the most points in the WHL with 10 – two goals and eight assists. Fix-Wolansky was the Oil Kings top goal scorer in the 2017-2018 season, so seeing the majority of the Oil Kings goals come from a variety of other players bodes well for the Oil Kings offensive future.
Boston Bilous has played two games for the Oil Kings this season. His numbers are radically different from last season. With a 0.946 save percentage and a 1.00 goals against average, Bilous looks like a goaltender the Oil Kings can rely on. Compared to his 0.838 save percentage last year, it seems obvious that something has changed considerably for the Oil Kings net minder.
Recently acquired goaltender Dylan Myskiw has also been solid for the Oil Kings. In his three games, he has a 0.944 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average. One of the major changes for Oil Kings has been consistent goaltending from two goaltenders to start the season.
One of the other major changes, alluded to before, is that the Oil Kings have multiple forward lines who have been successful at scoring. Both Brett Kemp and Vince Loschiavo have gotten off to fantastic starts. With four and five goals respectively, they give the Oil Kings multiple offensive threat instead of forcing them to rely on one line to produce the majority of their scoring. Kemp’s success after a less than ideal 2017-2018 season is also encouraging.
A young team, the Oil Kings will have to work to stay level despite early success. The team will want to continue working and take things one game at a time. If they are unable to sustain their early success, the Oil Kings want to continue to take the season one game at time.
The Oil Kings next game is against the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday October 3rd. The Blades have a 3-1-0 record, and have a match up against the Red Deer Rebels on Tuesday night. The Oil Kings will be hoping that their neighbours down the QEII take a little of the edge off the Blades. The Oil Kings defense will work to contain the Blades offense which has been hit or miss so far this season. The Blades offense exploded for eight goals against Swift Current in the second game of the season, but only managed one goal against Prince Albert on Sunday night,
The Blades will be hoping for another big performance out of future superstar Kirby Dach. The 17 year old is off to a strong start with three goals and four assists in four games played. Dach’s ability to take over a game will give the Oil kings something to consider closely.
If the Oil Kings win on Wednesday, they will already be a quarter of the way to their win total from the 2017-2018 season. The 2018-2019 season is certainly beginning in a way that reminds Oil Kings fans of their dominance from 2012 to 2014.