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Jaxsen Wiebe’s overtime goal, first junior hat trick, puts Oil Kings back in contention

The Oil Kings earned a 4-3 overtime win over the host Saint John Sea Dogs

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SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings are back in contention for the 2022 Memorial Cup.

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The Oil Kings cruised to a 4-3 overtime win over the host Saint John Sea Dogs at Harbor Station Arena on Wednesday to keep their championship hopes alive.

Jaxsen Wiebe scored the overtime winner at 8:05 to complete his hat trick in the three-on-three format. With the win, the Oil Kings got two points in the standings while the Sea Dogs got one for the overtime loss.

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“After a loss your group has to come back stronger and I thought we did that, it was a total group effort,” Wiebe said. “Our guys came to fight and we were rewarded for it.

“It’s special to score three goals, but our whole group came out tonight and I couldn’t be prouder of our return after the game (on Tuesday). We’ll take this one and prepare for Hamilton.

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The Oil Kings lost their tournament opener to the Shawinigan Cataractes on Tuesday and thought they would be short of their last shot had they lost the second in a streak.

Wiebe, however, had the match of his life, which included a first-period fight against Sea Dogs forward Riley Bezeau.

Wiebe scored the overtime winner on a right wing rush, firing a shot over the shoulder of Sea Dogs goaltender Nikolas Hurtubise. It was Wiebe’s first-ever junior hat-trick.

Carter Souch added the other for the Oil Kings and goaltender Sebastian Cossa made 36 saves.

“I think it started in the corner and Ghules (defender Kaiden Guhle) told me that,” Wiebe said. “There’s plenty of room to skate in overtime and I thought I might as well have my own skate in there. I skated on the wing and just pulled the trigger and luckily she got in.

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Just before the tournament, the CHL announced a new point system, awarding three points for a regulation win, two for an overtime win, and one for an overtime loss. They also introduced the new overtime format, which would be three-on-three until a winning goal was scored.

“I think it was a great showcase for the CHL and for the Memorial Cup,” Sea Dogs head coach Gardiner MacDougall said. “It was heartbreaking for our team because they worked so hard, but I thought there were a lot of positives.

“We knew they were going to be tough early on and we lost 2-0 and had the guts to come back, and I thought that was an exceptional response to go up 3-2. Then when you get to three-on-three, it’s top-notch three-on-three and both teams had huge opportunities. I think both goalies made incredible saves.

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Raivis Kristians Ansons, Josh Lawrence and William Dufour scored for the Sea Dogs, while Hurtubise made 27 saves.

Wiebe opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game, driving a puck into a scrum past Hurtubise. Souch gave the Oil Kings a 2-0 lead just over two minutes later.

Oil Kings forward Justin Williams was able to beat his man on the outside and sent a backhand pass past Souch, who swept it into the net. Souch finished with a goal and two assists.

“I think it was a really good team effort from everyone tonight,” Souch said. “Jaxsen was awesome. It’s his first junior hat-trick; I only have it, so he’s tied with me, but it’s pretty crazy that he got one in the Memorial Cup.

The Sea Dogs fought back in the game, shooting within a goal six minutes into the first period as the puck bounced to Ansons up front and he slipped it through Cossa’s pads.

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Saint John then tied the game 25 seconds later as Lawrence was credited with the goal after it bounced off the skate of Oil Kings defenseman Simon Kubicek in front.

Dufour gave the Sea Dogs a 3-2 lead midway through the period when he fired a shot from the short side past Cossa.

“We had a tough start, but we were able to bounce back right away and it was good for our team,” Dufour said. “We showed character. We had chances in overtime, I had a two on one and I could have finished this game, but Cossa made a big save and that’s why he was drafted in the first round in the NHL , he is a very good goalkeeper.

The Oil Kings tied the game 3-3 two minutes into the second period as Wiebe scored on the power play. He managed to get the puck back after Souch touched the goal post, cut to the net and lifted the backhand past Hurtubise.

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Brendan Kuny nearly gave the Oil Kings the lead later in the period, but fired a shot off the goal post on a breakaway.

Things tightened up in the rest of the period after the frantic opening 10 minutes of the contest.

In overtime, the Oil Kings had the bulk of the chances before Wiebe’s game-winner. Edmonton edged Saint John 7-5 in overtime with three fumbles.

“I think we had a really good start, and I got through the first period and liked our second,” Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer said. “I thought we were a bit tired from playing last night, but I thought our guys did the right things at the right time. And I really liked our overtime, I think we had a lot of chances and did a lot of good things.


On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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