- Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl led the way for the Oilers Rookies, recording a combined seven points, in the team’s 6-3 victory over the University of Alberta Golden Bears at Rexall Place.
5:04 into the game, off a draw in the Oilers zone, Rhett Rachinski picked up the puck in front and roofed a nice backhand past Eetu Laurikainen to give his Golden Bears a 1-0 lead. Oilers forward Greg Chase was given a 10-minute misconduct on the play.
The massive crowd of over 14,400 fans in attendance burst into cheers as McDavid nearly tied the game midway through the first with some fancy one-handed moves on a breakaway. He was stopped by the pad of Luke Siemens.
“Anytime there’s that many fans and they’re that into the game and they’re that loud, it’s pretty special to play in front of,” said McDavid. He finished the game with three assists.
Rachinski went to the box for tripping and gave Edmonton the man advantage at 9:17 of the first.
28 seconds later, the Oilers Rookies power play unit struck with a nice tic-tac-toe passing play. McDavid passed the puck down low to Braden Christoffer who gave it to Draisaitl in the slot. Draisaitl finished it off for the game-tying tally.
Alexis Loiseau gave the Oilers their first lead of the night at 12:01 of the opening frame. Loiseau, on the power play, spun in the slot and whipped the puck past Siemens. McDavid and Draisaitl each earned an assist on the goal. McDavid’s assist was a slick no-look backhander from behind the Golden Bears net.
Draisaitl set up defenceman Joey LaLeggia at 9:50 of the second period for the 3-1 lead. LaLeggia picked up Draisaitl’s pass in the high slot, moved in toward net and found twine. Christoffer recorded the second assist. The assist gave Draisaitl three points on the night.
At 18:30, the Golden Bears made it a one-goal game, courtesy of Jordan Hickmott who was assisted by the captain, Kruise Reddick.
In the third, Josh Winquist buried a loose puck on the doorstep following a scramble. That goal by Winquist finished off his own zone entry and shot on net. The forward wrapped around the back of the net and potted the rebound. That was Winquist’s fifth goal in four games for the Oilers Rookies. He scored four in three games at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, B.C. Draisaitl and Caleb Jones each recorded an assist.
Winquist’s goal gave the Oilers Rookies a 4-2 lead at 9:46 of the third period.
Jamie Crooks made it 4-3 when the Golden Bears forward scored from the slot at 13:17 of the third.
Edmonton responded almost immediately. McDavid set things up with a backdoor dish and Cole Sanford buried the one-timer at 13:20.
The Oilers got some insurance when Anton Slepyshev drove the net and scored at 14:58. That tally put the rookies up 6-3.
“I thought it was a good game,” said Oilers Rookies Coach Gerry Fleming. “They took it to us in the second. They’ve got a good hockey team. They’re well-structured, well-coached, they play hard. I thought our skill level showed through tonight when we did have opportunities to put it in the back of the net.”
Laurikainen finished the game with 34 saves in net for the Oilers. Draisaitl led the Rookies in scoring with a goal and three assists.
With the victory, Edmonton has won two games in a row in their series against the U of A. The Oilers trail all-time in the series 12-13.