If the adage that things come in threes is true, maybe Tuesday was the beginning of something special for the Red Deer Rebels.
After a three game winning streak to start the WHL season, the Rebels promptly lost their next three.
Tuesday at the Centrium they got back in the win column with a 4-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips.
Red Deer looked like an entirely different group Tuesday after a disastrous 5-2 loss Saturday against the Brandon Wheat Kings, but played with a renewed sense of vigor in their latest win.
“Certainly a different game on our part from the other night,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.
“Right from our goaltender out we battled, played hard. Won some battles and we played a team that’s quick. I thought we did a good job handling their speed. We played quick too, we capitalized on opportunities and that’s what you need.”
Goalie Ethan Anders, 17, from Regina, Sask. earned his first career win and made several key saves including a Silvertips 2-on-0 and a late third period power play for the visitors. In only his second career start, he made 28 saves and was named first star.
“Felt pretty good, nice to get that first win under the belt,” Anders said. “I think the nerves got out in the first period. I wasn’t too busy, I felt better in the second after a few nice saves in the first.”
Sutter also said there were some big moments where his goaltender played beyond his years.
“He played well. He stood tall tonight and he battled. He looked big in the net and made some big saves certainly at key times. He was a big part of our penalty killing,” he said, as the Rebels held Everett scoreless in six power play chances.
Lane Zablocki opened the scoring with his first goal of the season just 93 seconds into the game with the Rebels on the power play and they didn’t look back from there.
With the game tied 1-1 but the Rebels in control, captain Grayson Pawlenchuk grabbed a loose puck from just inside the faceoff circle and rifled it over Silvertips goalie Dorrin Luding’s glove midway through the second. The goal was his fifth of the season, 47th of his career and after an assist on the opening goal, his 100th career WHL point.
Sutter juggled his lines throughout the game Tuesday, including playing Pawlenchuk with Mason McCarty and Kristian Reichel. The Rebels bench boss liked the response of his top forwards in the contest.
“That is the responsibility that those guys have and the accountability you need to have when you’re that type of player,” Sutter said.
“It’s not always about the end result, it’s about the process in the game and how we have to play and how we have to do things. There’s probably a ten-point plan that we have and we have to be able to check those boxes off every night.”
Late in the second, after a nice drop pass from Zablocki, Reichel went bar down with a blast over Luding’s right shoulder. The tally was his third of the year and eighth point, good for second among WHL rookies.
Killing a penalty late in the third period, Jared Dymtriw fired the puck the length of the ice into the empty-net to seal the win.
It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Rebels as they hit the road to take on the Kootenay Ice Thursday in Cranbrook.