Rebels 5 Prince George 2
The Red Deer Rebels have seemed to crack the code on one of the best teams in the WHL.
For the second time in less than a month, the Rebels put up four goals on the Prince George Cougars, one of the stingiest defensive teams in the league en route to a 5-2 win at the Centrium Friday night.
Prince George had only allowed 138 goals through 50 games heading into Friday, a mark that’s fifth in the WHL. The formula seems to be one that’s tried, tested and true for Rebels GM and head coach Brent Sutter.
“It was solid, right from the get go we were solid,” he said. “We played hard, that’s obviously a very good team we played tonight. A team that is built for this year. We handled a lot of things well, I thought we did a lot of good things. There was purpose in our game. It was a carry over from our last game against Victoria.”
Tied 2-2 midway through the third period, Red Deer got a huge break when Colton Bobyk was caught with a high stick that drew blood and led to a four minute power play. For the first two minutes of the man advantage, Red Deer struggled and got a massive save from goalie Lasse Petersen, who stopped 30 shots on the night.
“He made some big saves. Your goaltender has to be your best penalty killer. He made some big saves for us, obviously at key times,” Sutter said.
Sutter called a timeout with 1:40 left in the power play and 10:27 on the clock, he had a simple message for his group.
“Just settle down,” Sutter said.
“We’ve been working on things this past week, on some different things. We had to change stuff up. There’s some things that we just need to do differently. I thought all our power plays tonight were really good up until that point where we got that four minute minor.
“The first two minutes we weren’t generating as far as getting into the zone and creating and getting set up. Just came back to the drawing board and kept it simple. Get back to doing what we had been working on and making sure that we are strong on pucks and get more pucks to the net. Look at our power play tonight, I thought we could have had two or three or four goals on it. Their goalie made some big saves.”
Rebels defenceman Carson Sass was due to have nightmares of Ty Edmonds’ glove, until he scored seconds after he was absolutely robbed point blank at the side of the Prince George goal.
Sass scored his fourth goal of the season on the power play in the third period, less than 10 seconds after the leather larceny from Edmonds kept the game tied at two.
It wasn’t exactly the prototypical close out for the Rebels who are rather stingy themselves with a lead in the third period, with only two losses in 15 games when leading after two. Prince George tied the game at 2:56 into the third.
“We did a lot of good things out there tonight. They got that one in the third but we didn’t get down on it and we battled back and Sasser put that one home and we got the lead. We got some jump back and we finished it off. We buried them,” said Evan Polei, who scored his team leading 22nd goal of the season into the empty net with 47 seconds left in the game.
Polei scored twice on the night and was named first star. His first goal came on a beautiful feed from Austin Glover and Polei out muscled a defender to tip the pass in past Edmonds. Edmonds was the third star on Friday with 40 saves, only the second time he has gone over the 40 mark this season.
Michael Spacek had another multi-point night for the Rebels, scoring in the first period and adding two assists. He’s now up to 59 points in 39 games.
Cam Hausinger also scored his fifth goal of the season in the first period.
The Rebels have another tough test Saturday when they welcome the Regina Pats to town.