EDMONTON — The Red Deer Rebels hung on down the stretch to post a 2-1 Western Hockey League win over the Edmonton Oil Kings Wednesday, but Brent Sutter suggested the third-period numbers — in particular, the shots on goal that favoured the hosts by a 16-7 count — were somewhat amplified.
“They had a lot of shots in the third period but it got exaggerated a bit,” said the Rebels GM/head coach, who nevertheless gave full marks to netminder Rylan Toth, who turned aside 40 of a recorded 41 Oil Kings shots over the course of the contest.
“I wouldn’t say they terribly outplayed us, I just thought it was a game where they had a lot of shots but we did a lot of good things too.
“He (Toth) made some big saves for us and we found a way to win. We battled, we competed and we played hard. We got a couple of bounces in the third (period) and capitalized on them.”
Rebels defenceman Haydn Fleury notched the winning goal at 6:41 of the third period with Oil Kings rearguard Marshall Donald serving a hooking penalty.
Lane Bauer opened the scoring for the hosts on the power play at 9:09 of the first period and Adam Musil, with his 12th of the season, pulled the Rebels even with a man-advantage marker at 5:19 of the final frame.
The win snapped a two-game Red Deer losing string.
“We need to start playing the type of game we want to play, it doesn’t matter who is in our lineup,” said Sutter, who was minus the services of injured veteran forwards Conner Bleackley, Evan Polei and Brooks Maxwell, as well as defenceman Colton Bobyk .
“Some of the guys are not available to us because of the type of players they are, but the other guys have to step up to the plate and play hard,” said Sutter.
“We need to get more from some guys and tonight we got more.”
Sutter was particularly impressed with 16-year-old forward Reese Johnson, who made his Rebels regular-season debut Wednesday.
“He played really well, probably better than I expected,” said the Rebels boss.
“He’s got grease and he can skate . . . . he’s a good player.”
• Fleury, Bauer and Toth were selected as the game’s first, second and third stars . . . The Rebels were one-for-three on the power play; the Oil Kings one-for-four . . . Sutter admitted that Bleackley, out with a lower-body injury, could be sidelined another two to three weeks. Maxwell and Bobyk are listed as day-to-day and Polei could be back in two weeks . . . The Rebels host the Prince Albert Raiders and Lethbridge Hurricanes tonight and Saturday.