The dominant team in the WHL’s Central Division during the 2020-21 season wrapped up their campaign in style on Thursday night.
The Edmonton Oil Kings finished off their campaign with an impressive 20-2-0-1 mark at Co-op Place in Medicine Hat as they came away with a 3-0 shutout over the Medicine Hat Tigers.
While the Oil Kings were able to capture their third straight Central Division title, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that they wouldn’t be able to showcase their squad in the playoffs for the second straight spring after reaching the Eastern Conference in 2019 before falling to the Prince Albert Raiders.
“No playoffs is obviously tough and it’s a bit disappointing,” Oil Kings captain Scott Atkinson said in an interview with the team’s announcer Andrew Peard earlier this week.
“At the same time, I know we’re really lucky to be here right now on the ice together. The group that we have has become really close over the last couple of years. I think because of that we’re happy and enjoy being on the ice whenever we can, so it doesn’t really matter, at the end of the day, if we’re playing playoffs or what the situation is, we’re still just trying to have fun out there, enjoying the moment and having fun with each other.”
The Oil Kings officially won the division last week and received the trophy on Tuesday after a 3-2 overtime triumph over the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
“It was great, for what they’ve gone through this year,” Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer said. “It gave them a sense of accomplishment, it’s exciting to see as a coach to see that excitement together as a group that has been together for a few years, it’s pretty special for them to enjoy that.”
Around the WHL
Moose Jaw Warriors captain Daemon Hunt was rewarded for his strong campaign in the WHL’s East Division bubble in Regina on Thursday as he inked an entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild.
A third round pick by the Wild in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the 18-year-old from Brandon had eight goals and 10 assists in 23 games in Regina to finish second in team scoring with underage rookie Brayden Yager.
Hunt has also played in three games for the AHL’s Iowa Wild this year.
Around the CHL
Following a league-wide draft lottery that was held on YouTube Wednesday night, the Sudbury Wolves will hold the first overall pick in next month’s Ontario Hockey League draft.
With the 2020-21 season being cancelled due to COVID-19 regulations in Ontario, 19 of the league’s 20 teams took part in the lottery to determine this year’s draft lottery.
The Niagara IceDogs do not have a first round pick due to recruiting violation penalties they received in 2019.
The Wolves last held the first overall pick in 2018, when they selected Los Angeles Kings forward Quinton Byfield.
Central Division Standings
- Edmonton Oil Kings – 41 points (20-2-0-1)
- Medicine Hat Tigers – 29 points (14-8-0-1)
- Calgary Hitmen – 23 points (10-8-3-0)
- Lethbridge Hurricanes -21 points (9-12-3-0)
- Red Deer Rebels – 12 points (4-15-4-0)
Stat Leaders (League Leader if not from the Central Division)
- Goals: Josh Williams (Edmonton) – 17 (Lynden McCallum (Brandon) – 21)
- Assists: Jake Neighbours (Edmonton) – 24 (Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg) – 30)
- Points: Jake Neighbours (Edmonton) – 33 (Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg) – 43)
- Defensive Scoring: Cole Clayton (Medicine Hat) – 30
- Rookie Scoring: Carson Latimer (Edmonton) – 16 (Connor Bedard (Regina) – 28)
- Plus/Minus: Jake Neighbours (Edmonton) – 29
- Penalty Minutes: Dino Kambeitz (Lethbridge) and Joe Arntsen (Lethbridge) – 37 (Justin Nachbaur (Prince Albert) – 62)
- Power Play Goals: Josh Williams (Edmonton) and Cole Clayton (Medicine Hat) – 7 (Lynden McCallum (Brandon) – 9)
- Power Play Assists: Alex Cotton (Lethbridge) – 16
- Game Winning Goals: Corson Hopwo (Medicine Hat) – 4 (Mark Liwiski (Kelowna), Ben McCartney (Brandon) and Jakin Smallwood (Winnipeg) – 4)
- Short Handed Goals: Josh Prokop (Calgary) and Sean Tschigerl (Calgary) – 2 (Ridly Greig (Brandon) – 4)
- Short Handed Assists: Noah Danielson (Medicine Hat) – 2 (Ben McCartney (Brandon) – 3)
- Overtime Goals: Arshdeep Bains (Red Deer), Alex Cotton (Lethbridge), Tyson Galloway (Calgary), Corson Hopwo (Medicine Hat), Brett Kemp (Medicine Hat), Adam Kydd (Calgary), Oren Shtrom (Medicine Hat) Josh Tarzwell (Red Deer), Josh Williams (Edmonton) and Cael Zimmerman – 1 (Cole Fonstad (Everett), Samuel Huo (Tri-City) and Braden Schneider (Brandon) – 2)
- Points Per Game: Dylan Guenther (Edmonton) – 2.00
- Shutouts: Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton) – 4 (Trent Miner (Vancouver) and Dustin Wolf (Everett) – 4)
- Goals Against Average: Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton) – 1.57
- Rookie Goals Against Average: Colby Knight (Edmonton) – 2.25
- Save Percentage: Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton) – .941
- Wins: Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton) – 17
- Goals For: Edmonton Oil Kings – 104 (Brandon Wheat Kings – 104)
- Goals Against: Edmonton Oil Kings – 41
- Penalty Minutes: Red Deer Rebels – 324 (Prince Albert Raiders – 369)
- Power Play Percentage: Medicine Hat Tigers – 37.0
- Power Play Goals: Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Medicine Hat Tigers – 30 (Brandon Wheat Kings – 38)
- Penalty Kill Percentage: Edmonton Oil Kings – 86.4 (Everett Silvertips – 89.1)
- Short Handed Goals: Calgary Hitmen, Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels – 4 (Brandon Wheat Kings – 7)
- Goals: Corson Hopwo (Medicine Hat) – 8 games (9 goals)
- Assists: Jake Neighbours (Edmonton) – 11 games (15 assists) (Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg) – 11 games (18 assists))
- Points: Jake Neighbours (Edmonton) – 19 games (33 points) (Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg) – 23 games (43 points))
- Wins: Edmonton Oil Kings – 9
- Losses: Red Deer Rebels – 13