If you were a fan in the stands or listening to the game on the radio, you could not have asked for a better game to be the initial broadcast from the Kipling Arena as the Kipling/Windthorst Oil Kings welcomed the Wawota Flyers into their rink. Before the initail puck drop, the Oil Kings held a short ceremony for their fundraising efforts from over the off season.
In light of the Humboldt Broncos tragic bus crash, a local family had sent $400 towards the team for them to donate towards the Broncos' GoFundMe page, and the team matched that as well. However, after seeing the total climb to well over $12 million, they decided to instead donate the $800 raised towards local EMS workers for better equipment in the Kipling area, so the two teams participated in a ceremonial puck drop at the beginning of the game to celebrate the donation.
Once the ceremonies were finished, the puck dropped for real to start the first period, where both teams would start by going back and forth with one another. The first goal of the game seemed to come out of absolute nowhere, off the faceoff, Oil Kings Brandon Munro would win the faceoff back clean to Carson Harcourt, who would wire in a wrist shot through traffic and passed the glove of Flyers goaltender Guillaume Blouin for the 1-0 score.
After that, an already short staffed Wawota team would take two penalties to finish of the period, a slashing call from Kris Gilbertson that would be killed off, only for 30 seconds later to be sent down a man again as Kayle Swanson would be sent to the box for an absolute bullying of a crosscheck in the corner boards. Neither penalty would cost them, and the period would end.
In the second period, things started to go the other way a touch when seven minutes in, the home team would take their first penalty of the game on an interference call to Dean Barath. Much like the Oil Kings powerplay in the first, the Flyers wouldn't get anything done on their first crack, but a second was coming.
Another interference call to the Oil Kings, this time when Grady Bjork took out Blouin in a battle in the crease. The second powerplay for the Flyers would be short lived, however, as when they were breaking into the offensive zone, a miscommunication at the Flyers bench would give them a Too Many Men penalty and negate the powerplay only thirty-six seconds after it began.
The Oil Kings would kill their penalty and in the thirty-six second powerplay window, captain James Gallagher would retreat back to his own zone to regroup and try a D-man to D-man pass. Flyers' forward Taylor Ernst saw the pass coming a mile away and intercepted it to walk in on Austin Toth's crease. After a few moves, Toth would make what can only be described as a fingertip glove save to keep it a 1-0 game after two periods for the Oil Kings. With two frames played, it seemed like the defensive battle may never end.
And then the third period came.
Five minutes into the third, the Oil Kings would take a shot that would cause a scramble in front, and Carson Harcourt would have the presence of mind when the puck found his stick to pass it cross ice, leaving a screen Boulin defenseless on the on timer from Derek Bachert for the 2-0 score.
Three minutes later, the Oil Kings would maintain pressure for the next sequence in the Flyers zone, and Tyler Wyatt was about to wind up from the point when the whistle was blown thanks to a four man brawl near the Flyers bench that would stop play and give the Flyers a faceoff in their zone, along with ejections to Kayle Swanson and Oil King Caley Bjork.
On the insuing faceoff, the Flyers would answer the call and get on the board when Ryan Taylor would would break up the right side of the ice and sneak around the defenceman on the backhand and fire a shot. The shot itself would stay out of the net, but after hacking away at it, Taylor managed to get it passed Toth with 13:12 showing on the clock, 2-1 Oil Kings.
Thirty seconds later, the Oil Kings scored a scramble goal of their own. Grady Bjork would break down similarly the right side off the faceoff for the home team, with a little less speed and finesse and a little more power, and he'd send a backhand shot off the pad of Boulin. The rebound save can only be described as Dominick Hasek spectular as Boulin went full windmill, legs sprawled in every direction to roll over and deny the initial rebound. Unfortuneatly for him and his Flyers, it left him out of position and without a sense of where the puck was, and it left an easy tap in for the man who started the play to begin with, Grady Bjork.
If robbing Boulin of what was easily the save of the year so quickly wasn't insulting enough, the Oil Kings weren't done. Off the centre ice faceoff, Brandon Munro would sign his name on the scoresheet a second time after the Oil Kings lost the centre ice faceoff and he would rush in to steal the puck and fire it passed Boulin before he could even react, nine seconds after the goal from Bjork, 4-1 Oil Kings.
But good things only come in pairs, and so while Kipling/Windthorst received their gift, the Flyers were about to get their own.
Just before reaching the halfway mark of the third period, another play started by Ryan Taylor would give a juicy rebound out to Dillon Frater, and he'd make no mistake to bring the Flyers back to within two.
As if four goals in five minutes was not enough, the Flyers needed the second of their pair to tie the period back up and give them a shot at tying the game. Wearing the 'C' for the Flyers this night, Dylan Lamontange was one of the players the short Flyers bench relied on most, constantly keeping the pace to the game in favour of the Flyers whenever he touched the puck, and as he broke out of his own zone, a few moves with his stick would draw a hooking call and the third powerplay opportunity of the night for the Flyers.
Only moments after the power play started, Lamontange would find the puck on his stick at the blue line with an open lane, then wind up and fire, ringing one off the inside of the post and hitting the twine to bring the game back to within one, 4-3 Oil Kings with 8:52 to play.
As mentioned earlier though, good things only come in pairs, and so the Oil Kings were back at the front of the line. Just over a minute had pased before Derek Bachert would take up some more room on the score sheet and his second of the night by walking over the blue line and blasting an emphatic slapshot under the blocker of Boulin.
The Oil Kings would add one more with just over five minutes to play in the game, this time off the stick of James Schaeffer, an easy rebound off of a shot from Harcourt to make it a 6-3 game.
Once again, good things come in pairs, and so back to Wawota.
Boulin would step out of his net to play the puck in the corner, and Oil King Josh Hassler would walk right in to hassle the goaltender with a light body check. Boulin took excpetion, shedding the blocker and throwing punches that would attract everyone on the ice to the corner. Once the gloves were picked up and the penalties decided, Hassler would be sent to the box and give the Flyers a powerplay with 3:46 showing on the scoreboard.
The insuing play would give the Flyers a two on one situation, Derek Frater with the puck down the left side, Ryan Taylor to his right. The pass to Taylor would land right on the tape and be blasted passed Austin Toth.
Moments later, down by two with 2:44 left in the game, the Flyers would be gifted another power play thanks to a cross check from Schaeffer. The Flyers would pull Blouin from the net for the six-on-four power play, and they would need every second of the powerplay as Hunter Smith would score the moment the penalty box doors opened, 6-5 Oil Kings, 44 seconds to play.
The Flyers would dump the puck in off the draw after some discussion in the time out, and they would pull Boulin out as soon as possible. Austin Toth stood tall as he faced a flurry of shots from the Flyers in the dying seconds of the game before his defence could pin the puck in the corner for the remaining three seconds of the game.
FINAL SCORE: 6-5 Kipling/Windthorst Oil Kings
A total of ten goals were scored in 15:01 of playing time in the third period, averaging a goal every minute and a half after the 15:45 mark of the third period.
Despite the final score, periods one and two showed the both Toth and Boulin could be top tier goaltenders in the Big Six.
Derek Bachert would score his first and second goal of the season to earn the first star of the game, while Carson Harcourt had a three point night with a goal and two assists.
The Flyers are 1-1 on the season now, and while they were supposed to face the Yellow Grass Wheat Kings the next night on Saturday, November 24, the game has been moved to another date instead.
The next Big Six broadcast is Sunday, December 2nd as the Wawota Flyers host the Midale Mustangs.