Midget Rebels even up series
CALGARY — Red Deer Optimist Rebels head coach Doug Quinn had a little talk with his troops prior to their must-win game against the Calgary Buffaloes Sunday afternoon.
All he told them was that this was supposed to be a positive experience. That they should enjoy the competition and not worry about failure, or making mistakes. They’re not going to let anyone down.
“They went out really relaxed,” said Quinn, who felt the players were putting extra pressure on themselves. “When you do a lot of times it’s a negative response.”
The talk paid dividends as the Rebels came away with a 4-2 vicvtory to send the best-of-five Alberta Midget Hockey League South Division final to a fifth game, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Arena.
“I tought we got off a bit of a tentative start,” said Quinn. “We were working hard, but were a bit loose in the defensive end.”
That’s when veteran netminder Matt Zentner stepped up.
“He played well, making several excellent saves,” added the veteran Red Deer coach. “And once we settled in we played well.”
The Buffaloes managed to take a 1-0 lead on a goal by Ben Assad at 12:19, but Colton Bobyk got that back at 16:10 and the Rebels never trailed.
Ryker Leer put the Rebels up to stay in the second period with power play goals at 5:01 and 17:10. Sheldon Rempal made the game interesting at 19:50 of the second period, but Bobyk notched Red Deer’s third power play goal of the game at 11:19 of the final frame to put the lid on the victory.
“Our power play has been good of late, plus five-on-five we played well,” said Quinn. “We were creative and our work ethic and forechecking was strong.”
The Rebels finished with 49 shots on Buffaloes netminder Keelan Williams while Zentner faced 24.
“The last two periods we didn’t give up many shots, but they have a highly skilled team and a number of creative players and still managed several good chances on goal. But Matt made the big saves,” concluded Quinn.
Calgary took seven of 11 minor penalties, a misconduct and a game misconduct.