The Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings are 2022 Memorial Cup bound.
Following a season to which the team finished with the second-best record across the WHL, the club went on to produce back-to-back sweeps of its first and second round opponents (Lethbridge and Red Deer), before dusting up the league’s top dog, the 53-10-3-2 Winnipeg ICE in a five-game, third round battle.
That hard-fought victory over the Canadian Hockey League’s No. 1 ranked ICE set the stage for a WHL Finals appearance, as the Oil Kings got set to face the Western Conference’s champion, the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Opening the best-of-seven series with a narrow 2-1 loss to Seattle, Edmonton bounced back with three-straight wins, outscoring the Thunderbirds 9-6 in the process. Seattle responded with another one-goal, Game 5 victory, teeing up a Game 6 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, to which likely WHL – or CHL – goaltender of the year Sebastian Cossa one again stole the show.
The red-hot backstop produced his 16th win and fifth shutout of the postseason, besting his save percentage to .919 and his goals against average to just 1.93. The 6-foot-6, 19-year-old started each of Edmonton’s 19 playoff games.
But it wasn’t just Cossa either.
Arizona Coyotes first-round selection Dylan Guenther finished top of the pack among Edmonton’s playoff scoring leaders with 21 points (13G-8A), following up upon a regular season in which he tied a franchise record with 45 goals as part of a 91-point campaign.
Eight NHL prospects speckle the Oil Kings’ roster; first-round NHL Draft selections Dylan Guenther, Jake Neighbours and Sebastian Cossa were acquired through the WHL Draft while Justin Sourdif and defencemen Kaiden Guhle and Luke Prokop arrived in Edmonton via trade during the 2021-22 campaign.
The Oil Kings and now move on to compete in the 2022 Memorial Cup presented by Kia, slated for Saint John, N.B. from June 20-29. Edmonton’s first game is set for Tuesday, June 21 versus the QMJHL Champion Shawinigan Cataractes.