MEDICINE HAT — Bleackley, Pederson and Hagel might not make much of a law firm, but the Red Deer Rebels trio was firm on the puck Wednesday evening.
The Rebels forward line of Conner Bleackley, Lane Pederson and Brandon Hagel combined for 11 points in a 4-3 Western Hockey League win over the Medicine Hat Tigers before 4,057 fans at the Canalta Centre.
“They were really good, they showed a lot of tenacity and they forechecked hard,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter, referring to his red-hot trio. “They had a lot of puck possession and they created opportunities. They created things and they capitalized on them.”
Pederson opened the scoring 8:57 into the contest and finished the evening with two goals and two assists. Bleackley made it 2-0 just under four minutes later and concluded his evening with a goal and two helpers.
After Mason Shaw notched a power-play goal for the Tigers at 17:30 of the opening frame, Hagel responded for the Rebels a mere 43 seconds later and concluded the contest with a goal and three assists.
“You want scoring throughout your team but sometimes you need that one line that sparks things and they certainly did that tonight,” said Sutter. “We’ll keep them together and see how it goes.
“It’s OK to have that offensive charge as long as they’re doing it the right way. Again, you have to want to play the right way without the puck, defending in our own zone takes work … you have to work to do that. That line worked hard tonight and that’s why they had the puck most of the game.”
Alex Mowbray at 5:40 of the third period and Max Gerlach with 19 seconds remaining, accounted for the other Tigers goals.
Rylan Toth turned aside 32 shots in the Red Deer net. Mack Shields started in the Medicine Hat goal and allowed two goals on 10 shots before suffering a first-period injury and being replaced by Nick Schneider, who blocked 15 of the 17 shots he faced the rest of the way.
“Tother was really solid, he was huge for us,” said Sutter.
“For the most part it was a good road win. You’re not going to be totally right on with everything you do, but we kept the game simple and did some good things.
“Our details were certainly better than they were this past weekend.”
The Rebels return to action Friday when they host the Tigers.