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Edmonton Oil Kings capture WHL championship with Game 6 win over Seattle Thunderbirds

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The Edmonton Oil Kings won their first WHL championship since 2014 on Monday night with a 2-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 6 of their series.

The team hoisted the Ed Chynoweth Cup in front of 7,185 fans at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

With the win, the Oil Kings will represent the WHLΒ at the Memorial Cup tournament later this month in Saint John, N.B.

“It’s a great feeling,” Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer said after the game. “I’ve had a lot of these guys for four years now and they come to work every day.

“They’re committed to each other, they support each other… They do the things you need to do to be a team.”

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Edmonton sniper Dylan Guenther remained out with an injury Monday but forward Jaxsen Wiebe returned from injury for Edmonton and made his presence felt with a a big hit early in the game.

Oil Kings forward Jakub Demek scored what ended up being the game-winning goal during a power-play at the 7:15 mark of the first period. Edmonton’s Josh Williams one-timed a pass from captain Jake Neighbours. Seattle netminder Thomas Milic made the save but Demek scored off the rebound.

The first period was a very physical affair as much of the series has been. The Oil Kings dominated in shots 21-4 during the frame.

READ MORE: Edmonton Oil Kings’ comeback bid falls short in 3-2 loss to Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 5

Oil Kings defenceman Kaiden Guhle scored at the 3:44 mark of the second period. He fired the puck through a crowd after receiving a pass from Neighbours. Defenceman Luke Prokop was also credited with an assist on the play.

Neighbours agitated the Thunderbirds who pushed back more in the second period. At one point he crashed into Milic while driving towards the net, although he received a push from a Seattle player. Later he was involved in a knee-on-knee collision with Seattle defenceman Samuel Knazko but no penalty was called on the play.

A few minutes into the third period, the Thunderbirds applied serious pressure on Oil Kings goaltender Sebastian Cossa who was forced to make multiple back-to-back saves.

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Milic left the Seattle net with about two minutes remaining so the Thunderbirds could get an extra attacker but they were unable to score.

READ MORE: Chance to win WHL championship has Oil Kings ready for big crowd, fierce battle against Thunderbirds

Cossa stopped all 27 shots he faced while Milic turned aside 34 of the 36 shots he faced.

The Edmonton Oil Kings won their first WHL championship since 2014 on Monday night with a 2-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 6 of their series. Global News

Lauer noted that in the Oil Kings’ Game 5 loss, he felt his players seemed nervous.

“We learned a lot from that game the other night,” he said. “We were ready tonight and it was great to see.

“The guys came out with a solid effort.”

Guhle, who was acquired by Edmonton in a trade in December, was named the MVP of the 2022 WHL playoffs by the league. He scored more goals in a single post-season than any other defenceman in Oil Kings history.

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“The last couple of games we weren’t happy with our play,” he said after the game. “All the boys were ready for this one.

Guhle said “it’s been a blast” ever since he got traded to the Oil Kings earlier in the season.

“(The Oil Kings are) such a first-class organization. They take care of their players.”

Cossa, who earned his fifth shutout of the 2022 WHL playoffs on Monday, said his teammates “helped me a lot” during the post-season.

“This team’s been together for quite a while and we’ve had the same goal for a long time,” he said. “Being able to do it is really nice.

“It’s huge.”

 

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