-

-

Polei plays part of unlikely hero during Rebels playoff run

Part of the mythology of North American playoff hockey is the idea heroes emerge from unlikely places. Despite an unceremonious exit from the Western Hockey League playoffs in the Eastern Conference Final, Evan Polei emerged for the Red Deer Rebels as that unlikely hero.

Part of the mythology of North American playoff hockey is the idea heroes emerge from unlikely places.

Despite an unceremonious exit from the Western Hockey League playoffs in the Eastern Conference Final, Evan Polei emerged for the Red Deer Rebels as that unlikely hero.

In three WHL seasons, playing all but two games with the Red Deer Rebels, Polei wasn’t known as a goal scorer. His best season, 2015-16, he had 16 goals and 14 assists in 58 games. Over the three seasons, he has played in 171 games, scored 39 goals and 30 assists.

But he found that extra gear in the playoffs. In 17 playoff games he scored eight goals and four assists. Two of those goals were game winners. For perspective, during the regular season he averaged a goal about every four games. In the playoffs he statistically had a goal almost every other game.

“I thought I played the way I needed to play. I was physical, I moved my feet, I got pucks low.” said Polei.

The six-foot-two tall forward conceded that he wasn’t perfect, including a turnover in Game 4 in the Eastern Conference Final to the Brandon Wheat Kings that cost the team, but thought he adapted to the playoff grind well.

“Other than that I thought I played really well. I was happy with how I played,” said Polei. “I just wish our team would have had a better result than we did.”

The game winners included one in the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 1, when the Rebels beat the Regina Pats 3-2, and in Game 3 against the Calgary Hitmen — he had two goals in that game.

He also assisted Adam Musils’ game winning goals in Games 2 and 7 against the Pats. In all, Polei had a hand in four game winning goals for a Rebels team that won nine games in the post-season.

“I think Musil and I gel really well together,” Polei said about his linemate. “We played very well for the team, but as Brent Sutter (Rebels GM/head coach) said we can’t have 30 per cent of the guys show up for playoffs when we need everybody to show up.

“That’s what we’re going to work towards here for the Memorial Cup.”

The 20-year-old from Wetaskiwin, a Detroit Red Wings prospect at the 2015 NHL Prospect Tournament, has earned a reputation as a physical player who does not back down. According to www.hockeyfights.com Polei had six fights this season and 22 in his WHL career.

The Rebels were eliminated from the WHL playoffs last Friday in Brandon following a 5-2 loss to the Wheat Kings. As hosts of the Memorial Cup, they have a spot in the tournament and will practice constantly until it starts on May 20 when the Rebels play the Ontario Hockey League champion.

Rebels

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Chopped Canada-winning chef Pete Sok is trying to focus on the future as he reopens Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Gasoline Alley during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer’s celebrity chef looks past the pandemic with new restaurant opportunity

Pete Sok is reopening Boulevard Restaurant — and betting on the future

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Most Read