Array

Array

Hitmen gun down Rebels

It was ‘80s night Friday at the Centrium and the Red Deer Rebels were hoping their WHL meeting with the Calgary Hitmen would be a throwback to the last time the clubs met. The Rebels downed the visiting Hitmen 3-2 Dec. 27, but they didn’t get a repeat this time, falling 5-1 in front of a recorded gathering of 6,141.

It was ‘80s night Friday at the Centrium and the Red Deer Rebels were hoping their WHL meeting with the Calgary Hitmen would be a throwback to the last time the clubs met.

The Rebels downed the visiting Hitmen 3-2 Dec. 27, but they didn’t get a repeat this time, falling 5-1 in front of a recorded gathering of 6,141.

Unfortunately for the Rebels, the loss wasn’t the bad news as five players — defenceman Nick Charif and forwards Lukas Sutter, Conner Bleackley, Wyatt Johnson and Adam Musil — went down with injuries and didn’t return, leaving the club with 13 skaters in the third period.

“We have four kids in the hospital right now getting x-rays,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter, in reference to Charif, Sutter, Bleackley and Musil. “With Johnny . . . we’ll know a little more tomorrow, but we think he has a concussion.

“When you lose five players like that and four of them are top forwards, it makes it tough the rest of the night.”

The game didn’t start well for Red Deer as netminder Patrik Bartosak surrendered goals on the first two shots he faced. Jake Virtanen scored on a wrap-around 2:41 into the contest and Colby Harmsworth notched his third goal of the season on a screened shot from the point at 5:15.

When Trochu native and forward Mike Winther — making his Hitmen debut after being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders in late December — connected from the side of the net at 7:27 of the second period, Bartosak’s night was over. The third-year goalie stopped seven of the 10 shots he faced and rookie Taz Burman blocked 16 of 18 the rest of the way.

Linden Penner upped the count to 4-0 before the middle frame was out and Joe Mahon, with his fourth of the season, beat Burman two minutes into the third period.

By that time, the Rebels, who host the Lethbridge Hurricanes tonight, were the walking wounded.

“But it’s funny because that’s when we stared working and competing and playing harder, when it became an urgency factor,” said Sutter. “I think that’s what was disappointing outside of the injuries, the fact that we never had that urgency early in the game.

“Patty also had a tough game, with three goals on him on 12 shots, or whatever it was. We obviously have to play better than that but right now I’m just concerned about trying to get enough guys to play here tomorrow night. It’s another big game for us and we’ll have to see how the kids are when they come back from the hospital.”

Presten Kopeck ruined Hitmen goaltender Chris Driedger’s shutout bid with a power-play tally at 13:33 of the final frame. Kopeck potted his sixth of the season with a slapshot from the right faceoff circle.

Prior to that, the Rebels couldn’t buy a goal. The home side mounted some impressive pressure in the second period and created a trio of excellent scoring chances, but two of the shots — from the low slot — were wide of the net. Rhyse Dieno also fired wide on a two-on-one in the third period.

The visitors, meanwhile, made the most of their opportunities, especially early.

“We scored on our chances in the first period and that allowed us to settle in a bit,” said Calgary head coach Mike Williamson, whose squad was outshot 9-4 in the first 20 minutes.

“I thought we played better after that but I didn’t like our first period.”

While Winther played his first game in a Calgary jersey after recovering from an upper-body injury, Red Deer fans also got their first look at Hitmen early-January acquisitions Adam Tambellini and Connor Rankin, both forwards.

“That was Winther’s first game with us. He looked tired but I think he’s going to add a lot,” Williamson said of the Dallas Stars prospect. “Tambellini and Rankin are also going to bring a lot but we’re still trying to figure out some chemistry. But they’re all good additions, for sure.”

While the Rebels had a two-game winning streak snapped, the Hitmen won for the first time in three outings. Calgary sits atop the Eastern Conference, six points clear of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

“I liked where our game was at a couple of weeks ago better than right now, but we were better tonight than we were last week so hopefully we can build on it,” said Williamson.

Despite the setback, the Rebels remain tied with Prince Albert for the eighth and final playoff berth in the conference as the Raiders were upset 3-1 Friday by the host Saskatoon Blades.

Rebels

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

Dharmesh Goradia, and his daughter Vidhi and wife Chaitali, at the 2017 festival for the Godess Durga, held at the Golden Circle. (Photo contributed)
Draft curriculum misses the mark for central Alberta Hindu society

Meeting scheduled with Alberta Education officials

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Air Canada says it will recall more than 2,600 employees who were furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta’s tourism sector hurt by COVID-19 pandemic: ATB Financial

Between border closures, public health measures and hesitancy to travel, Alberta’s tourism… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Most Read