EDMONTON — It’s no secret that for the Red Deer Rebels to be successful they need everyone to contribute, and that certainly includes their goaltenders.
Patrik Bartosak has more than held up his end of the bargain over the past two seasons.
He gave everyone a good indication as to why he was the Canadian Hockey League goaltender of the year last season with a sparkling 46 save performance in a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings in Western Hockey League play before 7.137 fans at the Rexall Place Sunday afternoon.
“They have a heavy team that gets the puck to the net,” said Rebels associate coach Jeff Truitt. “For a lot of the game they had a mind set of shooting the puck and crashing for the rebounds.
“Patty (Bartosak) was huge for us. When they had a five-on-three for close to a minute he made a pair of outstanding saves. But for us to be successful everyone has to pick up their game and we need them to be their best night-in and night-out. And there are times when goaltending has to give you the opportunity to steal the game and he was a wall for us tonight.”
The Rebels grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period when Rhyse Dieno, who notched the winner in a 3-2 win over Calgary at the Centrium Friday, scored on the power play at 16:34.
Henrik Samuelsson tied the game at 1:38 of the second period, but Dieno scored his 14th goal of the season at 16:49 while shorthanded. Grayson Pawlenchuk, who like Dieno just returned from injury reserve list on Friday, got the winner at 12:08 of the third period.
Aaron Irving made the game interesting, beating Bartosak just 29 seconds later.
The Rebels weren’t perfect as they gave the Oil Kings a number of chances with turnovers or miscues, but even then they battled when they had to, said Truitt.
“We got contributions from a lot of guys,” he said. “Pawlenchuk scored a big goal and Dieno looks to have his confidence back. As well some of the older guys didn’t contribute on the scoresheet, but they did a lot of the little things right . . . they did what we asked. This was a total team effort.”
It was also the fifth win in a row for the Rebels, who defeated Medicine Hat just before the Christmas break and have now downed two of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference — Calgary and Edmonton in back-to-back games.
They’ll hope to continue that win streak tonight when they host the Brandon Wheat Kings a 7 p.m. at the Centrium.
“When you win five in a row and beat good teams, everyone is pulling their weight,” said Truitt. “But no matter who we’re playing we want to win.”
The Rebels have also had their latest success with a number of players out of the lineup.
With Dieno and Pawlenchuk just back that still leaves forwards Matt Bellerive, Brooks Maxwell, Christian Stockl and Preston Kopeck on the injury list, Dominik Volek with the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championships and Adam Musil and Meyer Nell at the World U17 Challenge.
“We’ve had some adversity, but the guys have battled through it,” said Truitt. “At times we’re not pretty, but we’re playing as a team.”
• The Rebels finished with 21 shots on Tristan Jarry in the Edmonton goal . . . Connor Bleackley ran his point scoring streak to five games with a pair of assists . . . Rebels took seven of 13 minor penalties with the teams splitting a pair of fighting majors for a battle between Red Deer’s Devan Fafard and Brandon Baddock just 22 seconds into the game . . . The Rebels are tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference with Prince Albert just one point back of Brandon and Kootenay and two behind Regina.