Photo by ASHLI BARRETT/Advocate Staff

REBELS VS PATS -- sports-- Red Deer Rebels forward Adam Musil and Regina Pats forward Adam Brooks fight for possession behind the net during Saturday night WHL action at the Enmax Centrium. The Rebels defeated the Pats 2-1.

Offensive depth drives Rebels

By the end of the weekend, the Red Deer Rebels could boast a lineup featuring six 20-goal scorers Adam Helewka, 38, and Ivan Nikolishin, 31, lead the team in goals. Grayson Pawlenchuk, 20, and Jake DeBrusk, 20, have been steady with their own contributions.

By the end of the weekend, the Red Deer Rebels could boast a lineup featuring six 20-goal scorers

Adam Helewka, 38, and Ivan Nikolishin, 31, lead the team in goals. Grayson Pawlenchuk, 20, and Jake DeBrusk, 20, have been steady with their own contributions.

Knocking on the 20-goal plateau are Adam Musil and Luke Philp, who both have 19.

If Musil and Philp each score one goal in the next five games, the Rebels will have six 20-goal scorers.

That doesn’t even factor in the contributions of Conner Bleackley or Michael Spacek. Spacek got his 50th point on Tuesday night, good enough for fourth in team scoring. He sits seventh on the team with 17 goals.

Bleackley, a year removed from 27 goal 49 point season and a former NHL first round draft pick, has battled injuries this season, but still has contributed 13 goals and 42 points.

With four 20-goal scorers and a chance for six, the Rebels also boast eight players who have recorded 40 or more points this season.

Head coach and GM Brent Sutter said in a season with injury problems everywhere, its the depth that has made a big difference.

“We’ve had our share of injuries and they seem to keep piling up on us,” said Sutter. “It’s a credit to the kids to make those adjustments.

“You never have enough depth, but if you can get depth production-wise it’s huge. Having guys who can score and produce on any given night it’s nice to have. It’s hard for other teams to match up to that. It’s nice to have three or four lines rolling and not worry about matchups.”

Philp is on the cusp of joining both the 20 goal and 40 point club, one shy of each category.

“I haven’t really thought much about it,” said Philp, noting his lengthy time out with injury.

“I’d be looking to get to that mark for sure.

“You just think about doing what you can do to help the team win, it’s not about helping myself. If it’s what is going to help the team win, but it’s not what I’m thinking about. It’s the win that I’m thinking about.”

Philp, who started the season with the Kootenay Ice, was sidelined for much of the season with an lower body injury. He was hurt in late November and didn’t play another game for the Ice. He was traded to the Rebels on Jan. 3.

Musil is in the 40-point group of forwards, but is one goal shy of joining the 20-goal club.

“The most important thing is the team winning,” said Musil. “The goals will come if the team plays better. We just have to win games and the goals will come.

“It’s nice to have guys that can put the puck in the net and we have lots of talent on this team and I think the whole league knows it.”

Hayden Fleury is two points shy of hitting the 40-point mark with 38 points. He and Colton Bobyk, 40 points, have led the Rebels backend this season.

Injuries have also opened up chances for guys to contribute, with the centre depth Sutter said they’ve had to shuffle guys into key roles and ask them to step up.

“It’s been a year where we’ve been able to spread it out amongst our forwards,” said Sutter. “We do have depth where we can shuffle some guys around.

“We have a lot of centres in our lineup and we’ve asked them to play wing.”

It’s that depth that the Rebels will rely upon come playoffs. Sutter said having guys ready to step up into key roles if and when injuries do happen will give them an edge.

“It’s been one of those years where we’ve had to battle through a lot of adversity, but the kids have handled it quite well,” said Sutter. “For us to be sitting where we are considering the adversity we’ve gone through is a credit to the players and the depth has helped us get through it.”

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