Rebels 2 Silvertips 0
EVERETT, Wash. — This time, the Red Deer Rebels prevailed in spite of themselves.
The Rebels racked up their second win of a six-game Western Hockey League road trip to the Pacific Northwest and the B.C. lower mainland, blanking the Everett Silvertips 2-0 Tuesday before 4,107 fans at Comcast Arena.
Goaltender Darcy Kuemper was the man of the hour for the Rebels, turning aside all 34 shots he faced while recording his third shutout of the season.
“It’s funny how things work out, tonight was probably our worst of the four games we’ve played (on the trip),” said Rebels head coach/VP of hockey operations Jesse Wallin.
“I wouldn’t say we played poorly, but we gave up more chances than I’d like to see. We were on our heels a bit, we weren’t skating like we can and we didn’t manage the puck very well.
“We created a lot of turnovers ourselves just by being soft with the puck, and we relied on Kuemps too much tonight.
“But sometimes on the road you seem to have one game that you’re not happy with, and hopefully this was the one for us.”
Turner Elson, as it turned out, scored the only goal the Rebels would need, beating Everett netminder Kent Simpson 8:07 into the contest with assists from former ‘Tip forward Byron Froese and Brett Ferguson.
Everett outshot Red Deer 25-15 through two periods, but couldn’t beat Kuemper. Tyson Ness then added what amounted to an insurance goal at 1:15 of the final frame, stealing the puck in the Silvertips zone and beating Simpson short side.
The Rebels improved to 13-6-1-0 and moved into first place in the Central Division. Kuemper, meanwhile, improved his league-best goals-against average to 1.71 and continued to show that he has probably been Red Deer’s most valuable player to this point in the season.
“He’s been really consistent,” said Wallin. “The thing I find with him this season is that he’s not as busy. He was real solid tonight but he made it look easy. He used his size to his advantage and had really good rebound control, but he was also in real good position where he didn’t have to make acrobatic saves or really have to make second and third efforts.
“He’s a 20-year-old, a big strong guy who looked big in the net tonight by holding his ground in tight.”
The Rebels’ penalty kill also excelled, as the Silvertips were zero-for-four on the power play. Red Deer was zero-for-one with a man advantage.
Simpson stopped 20 shots for Everett.
The Rebels crossed the border late Tuesday and will meet the Vancouver Giants tonight in a game that will be broadcast by Shaw TV. The final stop on the six-game jaunt is Chilliwack, where the Rebels will take on the Bruins Friday.