Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff

Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff

Rebels blowout Blades

Wyatt Johnson looks right at home as the newly-minted Red Deer Rebels captain. The 20-year-old forward turned in a multi-point performance for the second consecutive game Wednesday at the Centrium, notching three goals and assisting on another as the Rebels routed the Saskatoon Blades 7-1 in a WHL contest viewed by a recorded gathering of 4,601.

Wyatt Johnson looks right at home as the newly-minted Red Deer Rebels captain.

The 20-year-old forward turned in a multi-point performance for the second consecutive game Wednesday at the Centrium, notching three goals and assisting on another as the Rebels routed the Saskatoon Blades 7-1 in a WHL contest viewed by a recorded gathering of 4,601.

“It’s nice to start getting on the scoresheet. The first 10 games didn’t go as we wanted, but it’s nice to start contributing,” said Johnson, who busted out of his offensive slump with a goal — his first of the season — and two assists in last Saturday’s 6-4 win at Vancouver.

“Obviously it was good to get a win. We had a lot of good players out there tonight and it transferred into a 60-minute effort.”

Johnson, who replaced linemate Conner Bleackley – who still wears a letter — as the Rebels’ captain during the recent four-game B.C. road trip, scored the tying goal and the eventual winner after the Blades opened the scoring on a short-handed marker by Nick Zajac 5:25 into the contest.

Johnson potted a beauty nine minutes later on a short-handed two-on-one with Presten Kopeck, executing a nifty toe drag before beating netminder Nik Amundrud. Johnson cashed a cross-ice pass from Bleackley while left alone at the side of the net and the Rebels early in the second period were well on their way to the one-sided victory.

Red Deer added two more in the period, with Ivan Nikolishin finding the top corner of the net with a power-play point shot and Johnson completing his hat trick.

The Blades took advantage of an unfortunate turnover by defenceman Haydn Fleury at the Saskatoon blueline to pot their lone goal. Zajac pounced on the puck, broke down the left boards and beat Rylan Toth from a shot from the faceoff circle.

“I thought we came out hard and played in their zone most of the game,” said Johnson. “We kind of got a little unlucky with the fanned pass (by Fleury) on the power play, but we regrouped from there and didn’t give them too much after that.”

Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter wasn’t impressed with the goal — which came on the visitors’ third shot — and replaced Toth with Trevor Martin, who stopped all 15 shots he faced the rest of the way. Martin wasn’t busy, but he made a nifty toe save on Josh Paterson in the first period and took a goal away from Nolan Reid with a sliding save in the final frame.

“Obviously, I wasn’t happy with the goal,” said Sutter. “You never want to make a goalie change that soon in a game, but at the same time you can’t leave anything for chance. I had to make sure that I gave the guys an opportunity to get through it and get going, and I thought they handled it really well.”

The Rebels completed their onslaught with three third-period goals, Michael Spacek scoring on a breakaway, Austin Pratt credited with his second of the season on a deflection and defenceman Colton Bobyk busting to the net and converting a feed from Grayson Pawlenchuk, who finished with two helpers.

Amundrud made 25 saves and while he was beaten seven times, he kept the hosts from hitting double figures with a large handful of excellent stops.

“We certainly got our rhythm going after being down 1-0,” said Sutter. “We played hard tonight against a team that played last night (a 3-2 overtime win at Edmonton) and they’re a younger group. But we played the right way, the way we’ve been preaching it. The kids did a lot of good thing here tonight.”

The Rebels boss was encouraged by the play of Johnson’s line, as Bleackley picked up a pair of helpers and Lane Pederson drew an assist.

“That line was really good in Vancouver, they were certainly the best line on the ice that night,” said Sutter. “We need to have four lines going with the way we have to play. It gives other players an opportunity to play in other situations, which is huge for their development. It was good to have a lead like that where you can mix lines and get some of the younger kids playing with some of the older guys.”

Fleury was assessed a major and a game misconduct in the second period for a check to the head and former Rebel Connor Gay was also hit with a maior and banished from the contest when he delivered a cross check to Fleury’s face just seconds later.

• Sutter swung a deal with the Tri-City Americans earlier in the day, acquiring forward/defenceman Braden Purtill in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft.

Purtill, an 18-year-old Winnipeg product, is in his third season in the league and has scored 11 goals and added 10 assists in 111 games. He was a third-round selection of the Americans in the 2012 bantam draft.

The Rebels host the Medicine Hat Tigers and Kootenay Ice Friday and Saturday.

Rebels

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

Just Posted

People board and leave at the Century Park light-rail transit station in Edmonton on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Racism is a real problem:’ Growing number of attacks against Black Muslim women

‘Racism is a real problem:’ Growing number of attacks against Black Muslim women

Alberta Health Services declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Revera Aspen Ridge on Feb. 1. (Photo by Advocate staff)
Two COVID deaths linked to Revera seniors residence in Red Deer

35 active COVID cases at seniors residence

Red Deer musician Lorry Boschman has written a song about love in the time of COVID-19. Proceeds from his single, Romance during a Pandemic, will be donated to the local United Way. (Contributed photo).
Local musician records a song about love in the time of COVID-19 — for charity

Lorry Boschman will donate some proceeds to the United Way

Preliminary data shows Alberta’s suicide rate declined in 2020 — but some mental health critics say it’s too early to draw any conclusions since more dire pandemic impacts are only now being felt. (metrocreative stock)
Alberta’s suicide rate seems to have declined in 2020

But some experts say it’s too early to credit the pandemic

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre can accommodate up to 20 patients requiring a ventilator, says Alberta Health Services.  File photo by Advocate staff
Opinion: UCP government reneging on Red Deer hospital funding

Another year, another Alberta budget and another blow to central Albertans. Budget… Continue reading

Seattle Storm guards Sue Bird, right, and Jordin Canada pose for photos Wednesday, March 3, 2021, on the roof of the Space Needle in Seattle after they raised a flag with the team's new logo on it. Bird re-signed with the Storm earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Lille players celebrate after Jonathan David scored his side's second goal during the French League One soccer match between Lille and Marseille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

Canada defender Shelina Zadorsky, right, passes the ball in front of Argentina forward Sole Jaimes (9) during the second half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. Alphonso Davies and Shelina Zadorsky have been named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Phelan M. Ebenhack
Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Manchester United's Fred, left, and Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew challenge for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park stadium in London, England, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Mike Hewitt/Pool via AP)
Grueling season starting to catch up with Man U, Leicester

Grueling season starting to catch up with Man U, Leicester

Gary Sanchez goes deep, Yankees hit three home runs to beat Blue Jays 4-1

Gary Sanchez goes deep, Yankees hit three home runs to beat Blue Jays 4-1

Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) dunks as Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The undermanned Toronto Raptors, down five players and six members of their coaching staff due to health and safety protocols, are scheduled to host the Detroit Pistons in their first action since last Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Carlos Osorio
Powell, Lowry do their bit but undermanned Raptors beaten handily by the Pistons

Powell, Lowry do their bit but undermanned Raptors beaten handily by the Pistons

Canada's Ghislaine Landry, left, runs past France players during the Women's Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco, Friday, July 20, 2018. The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, grounded last year by the pandemic, will return for the women in May. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeff Chiu
World Rugby unveils condensed 2021 sevens schedule with Vancouver a question-mark

World Rugby unveils condensed 2021 sevens schedule with Vancouver a question-mark

Most Read