The WHL's version of the Battle of Alberta may be a little more even this season - at least, if the Edmonton Oil Kings have their way.
Adrian Van de Mosselaer scored once and added three assists - including one on Brett Breitkreuz's game winner - as the Oil Kings rallied to beat the rival Calgary Hitmen 4-3 on Saturday night in the Western Hockey League.
The Oil Kings appeared listless through two periods, falling behind 3-1 to the Hitmen. Edmonton responded with two goals 61 seconds apart early in the third, setting the stage for Breitkreuz's heroics at 6:18. Breitkreuz took a pass from Van de Mosselaer and fired a wrist shot past Hitmen goaltender Dan Spence to give Edmonton (1-1-0-0) the lead for good.
The win puts the Oil Kings in a far better position than they were last year against Calgary, when they lost six of eight meetings in their inaugural season.
"It was a team effort," said Van de Mosselaer. "We all came out to work. It started a little bit slow and we came in here after the second period and knew we had a job to do. We went out and battled and came out on top tonight."
Elsewhere in the Western Hockey League on Saturday, it was: Saskatoon 1, Prince Albert 0; Swift Current 3, Moose Jaw 2; Red Deer 5, Medicine Hat 4 (SO); Kamloops at Chilliwack; Spokane 3, Portland 0; Prince George 2, Seattle 0; Vancouver 4, Everett 0; and Tri-City 5, Kelowna 2.
At Edmonton, the Oil Kings opened the scoring less than two minutes into the first period, with Brendan Dowd tipping a Van de Mosselaer point shot past Spence.
Calgary (1-1-0-0) replied quickly as Brandon Kozun scored his second goal in as many nights, one-timing a pass from Kyle Bortis. Calgary took the lead three minutes later after Ian Schultz fired a shot that deflected off the stick of Oil Kings winger Robin Soudek and past netminder Dalyn Flette.
Calgary extended its lead to 3-1 at 5:39 of the second period on the power play, as Bortis scored his second of the night past a prone Flette.
Dowd trimmed the lead at 1:15 of the third and Van de Mosselaer drew Edmonton even 61 seconds later, with both players beating Spence between the pads.
Spence stopped 35 shots for Calgary, while Flette made 22 saves for the Oil Kings.
Blades 1, Raiders 0
At Prince Albert, Sask., Walker Wintoneak's goal 8:56 into the second period was the only offence Saskatoon needed in a win over the Raiders.
Adam Morrison stopped 29 shots to earn his first career WHL victory for the Blades (1-1-0-0).
Steven Stanford made 36 saves in defeat for Prince Albert (1-1-0-0).
Broncos 3, Warriors 2
At Swift Current, Sask., Keegan Dansereau's game winner lifted the Broncos past Moose Jaw.
Taylor Vause and Jordan Peddle also had goals for Swift Current (2-0-0-0).
Ryley Grantham scored twice for the Warriors (0-2-0-0).
Rebels 5, Tigers 4 (SO)
At Red Deer, Alta., Cody Esposito scored in a shootout goal as the Rebels beat Medicine Hat.
Tomas Polak notched a pair of regulation-time goals for Red Deer (1-1-0-0), with Landon Ferraro and Cody Gross also scoring for the winners.
Mark Isherwood had two goals while Linden Vey and Brennen Bosch added singles for Medicine Hat (1-0-0-1).
Bruins 5, Blazers 4 (SO)
At Chilliwack, B.C., Ryan Howse had the lone shootout goal as the Bruins beat Kamloops.
Matt Strong, Jadon Potter, Alexander Wiklund and Brandon Manning scored in regulation for Chilliwack (1-0-0-0).
Jimmy Bubnick and Shayne Wiebe each had a pair of goals for Kamloops (1-0-0-1)
Chiefs 3, Winter Hawks 0
At Portland, Ore., Dustin Tokarski stopped 40 shots to lead Spokane past the Winter Hawks.
Brett Bartman, Stefan Ulmer and Jared Cowen scored for the Chiefs (1-1-0-0).
Jordan White went the distance in net for Portland (0-1-0-0), stopping 22 shots in the loss.
Cougars 2, Thunderbirds 0
At Prince George, B.C., Kevin Armstrong made 32 saves for his sixth career shutout, and first with Prince George, in leading the Cougars past Seattle.
Dallas Jackson and Alex Poulter scored for Prince George (2-0-0-0).
Calvin Pickard faced 34 shots in goal for Seattle (0-2-0-0).
Giants 4, Silvertips 0
At Everett, Wash., Jamie Tucker stopped 30 shots to post a shutout in his WHL debut as Vancouver blanked the Silvertips.
Neil Manning, Evander Kane, Mike Piluso and Lance Bouma scored for the Giants (1-0-0-0).
Shayne Barrie finished with 29 saves in goal for Everett (0-1-1-0).
Americans 5, Rockets 2
At Kennewick, Wash., Jason Reese had three goals as the Americans downed Kelowna.
Adam Hughesman and Johnny Lazo also scored for Tri-City (1-0-0-0).
Tyson Barrie and Mitchell Callahan scored for Kelowna (0-1-0-0).