EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oil Kings invade Saskatchewan this week to begin the final third of the Western Hockey League regular season.

With 22 games left to play the Oil Kings lead the Eastern Conference with 69 points, 9 points clear of the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Their first stop after boarding the team bus under Rogers Place Tuesday morning will be Swift Current on Wednesday, followed by Prince Albert Friday and Saskatoon on Saturday.

“You're basically playing playoff hockey,” said Brad Lauer, head coach for the Oil Kings.

“All the teams almost have 30 wins, you know they're going to be tight right to the end."

The Oil Kings are poised to have their best regular season since claiming the Memorial Cup championship in 2014.

“When they've been challenged they push back. The results have been really good“

The Oil Kings have been dominating so far, losing just seven games in regulation and only once in their past 19 games.

“Every game is going to be very important from here on in. We put a little pressure on our guys and we gotta make sure we do it as a team “

Leading the Oil Kings attack is Centre Riley Sawchuk with 19 goals and 56 points.

The 20-year-old from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan celebrated the best game of his career Sunday against Medicine Hat with a first-ever hat-trick.

“Four years is a long time coming and it felt great to get it finally.”

The Oil Kings start a 6-game home stand Tuesday Jan. 28 against the Brandon Wheat Kings. The regular season winds up March 21.