The Rosetown Redwings took flight Wednesday at the Red Deer Arena, then mowed down the Kenora Thistles at the Allan Cup.
Led by Evan Schwabe’s three-goal performance, the Redwings rolled to a convincing 8-0 victory before roughly 1,300 fans. Despite being outshot 30-22, the Saskatchewan/Manitoba champions were in control of the contest after scoring a pair of goals 40 seconds apart midway through the first period.
“We played well and it was important that we got our offence back clicking,” said Redwings head coach Keegan McAvoy. “We were stuck in a bit of a chess match with Bentley in our first game (a 2-0 loss to the host Generals Monday) but we got our offence cycling again tonight.”
The Redwings opened the scoring when Shane Endicott looked off on a three-on-one break and picked the top corner behind Thistles starting netminder Ryan Person nine minutes into the game. Just 40 seconds later, Mark Hinz chipped home his own rebound and Rosetown took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Rosetown added two more goals late in the middle frame, courtesy of JJ Hunter (power play) and Schwabe and closed out the scoring with four in the final frame.
“We definitely have some depth up front and the guys have executed the game plan both games,” said McAvoy.
“I actually didn’t think we played too badly in the first game, but now we’re going into the playoffs and it’s important that everyone peaks at the right time.”
The Redwings, 1-1, finished second in their three-team pool — behind 2-0 Bentley and ahead of 0-2 Kenora — and will face the 0-2 Stony Plain Eagles in a quarter-final tonight at 8 p.m. The 1-1 Fort St. John Flyers will take on the Thistles in the first quarter-final at 4 p.m.
The winners will meet the Newfoundland champion Clarenville Caribous, 2-0, and the Generals in Friday’s semifinals at 4 and 8 p.m. The championship game, to be televised by TSN, is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s a great tournament, a real grind with some good teams here,” said McAvoy. “Tomorrow we’re going to have a big test, we have Stony Plain and they work their can off. We look forward to that match-up and we’re going to be ready tomorrow night.”
With the Wednesday evening contest pretty much decided after 40 minutes, the Redwings added insult to injury by firing four goals in the third period.
Schwabe connected at 5:14 with Kenora’s Kyle Turgeon serving a roughing infraction and Jason Wager notched his first of the tournament just over three minutes later. From there, Schwabe completed his hat trick at 14:47 and Dean Beuker scored at 15:24.
“We hadn’t played for three weeks prior to the tournament, so it took awhile to get the offence rolling,” said Redwings defenceman and former Red Deer Rebel Derek Endicott.
Redwings netminder David Spooner stopped all 30 shots he faced, while Person and Tyler Gordon combined to make 14 saves for the Thistles.