The Red Deer Rebels scored on two of their first three shots in their final exhibition contest Saturday night and didn’t look back.
In the end they dominated the Mason Shaw-less Medicine Hat Tigers 5-3 in WHL preseason action.
Red Deer looked fast and took advantage of a rookie heavy Tigers squad. Head coach/GM Brent Sutter said the goals and the pace were a good sign from his club.
“I thought the pace was good tonight. They had some really good young kids playing tonight too. They have some good young players on their team that can skate and move too,” Sutter said of the Tigers young lineup.
“I expected it to be a high-tempo game and fast. I thought our forwards did a really good job. I thought after the first period our defence did a good job moving the puck up the ice quicker.”
Austin Pratt had a three-point night and scored twice in the win including great first period individual effort where he slid the puck five-hole on Tigers goalie Michael Bullion.
“I was just moving my feet. Me and Brent had several discussions before exhibition started and he just told me my role and what he expected of me. I have the skill set when I move my feet I can do those things,” Pratt said.
Kristian Reichel notched his fourth goal of the preseason on the second shot of the game during an early power play. On a great feed from Dawson Barteaux, Reichel rifled a one timer past Bullion.
Mason McCarty banked a pass in off a defender midway through the third and Grayson Pawlenchuk scored on a breakaway glove side on Tigers backup goalie Duncan McGovern.
Riley Lamb made 29 saves over two periods and Lasse Petersen finished the night off with eight saves in the third. The Rebels are expected to start the season with all three of Lamb, Petersen and 17-year-old Ethan Anders as their netminders.
“We’re probably going to stay put and we’ll let the goaltending thing sort itself out. Obviously we don’t want to carry three goalies for a long period of time,” Sutter said.
“We have to make sure the young guy can handle this league, if he can’t we’ll be carrying a 20-year-old and a 19-year-old. So there’s no rush in anything. We have all kinds of time to decide what we want to do.”
Since Dawson Martin is out long term with a wrist injury, Red Deer’s roster is down to 25 players ahead of next Saturday’s home opener.