EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oil Kings began their Western Hockey League championship defence at home on Thursday night with a 5-3 win over the Kootenay Ice.
Keegan Lowe led the way for Edmonton (1-0) with a goal and two assists. Michael St. Croix had a goal and an assist, while Brandon Baddock, Henrik Samuelsson and Cole Benson also scored for the Oil Kings.
Jon Martin, Tanner Muth and Brock Montgomery supplied the offence for Kootenay (0-1).
The victory continues the Oil Kings' dominance of the Ice with 11 straight victories after taking last year's regular season series 6-0 and sweeping Kootenay in the opening round of the playoffs.
Kootenay's last win against Edmonton dates back to Jan. 18, 2011.
St. Croix, who finished eighth in last year's regular season scoring with 45 goals and 60 assists, didn't take long to pick up where he left off. He had his first goal of the season just 1:01 into the game.
Edmonton's Braddock doubled the margin less than two minutes later with a sharp angle shot.
Late in the first, Kootenay's Martin put the Ice on the board, deflecting home a point shot. Lowe quickly replied from the blue-line to make it 3-1 for Edmonton after one period.
The clubs traded goals in the second, a goal-mouth scramble goal by the Oil Kings' Samuelsson sandwiched between a wrister from the point by Kootenay's Muth and a late deflection by Montgomery to make it 4-3 after two.
Benson added the insurance goal for Edmonton halfway through the third.
Laurent Broissoit stopped 25 shots in goal for Edmonton, while Kootenay's Mackenzie Skapski turned aside 28.
The Oil Kings were 1-for-4 on the power play. Kootenay went 1-for-3 with the man advantage.