Rebels open season with sweep of Ice

Share and share alike; that’s what good linemates do. Red Deer first-line forwards Rhyse Dieno, Brooks Maxwell and Lukas Sutter were totally in synch Saturday night at the Enmax Centrium. Each player scored once and collected two assists as the Rebels downed the Kootenay Ice 6-3 in their Western Hockey League home opener.

Share and share alike; that’s what good linemates do.

Red Deer first-line forwards Rhyse Dieno, Brooks Maxwell and Lukas Sutter were totally in synch Saturday night at the Enmax Centrium. Each player scored once and collected two assists as the Rebels downed the Kootenay Ice 6-3 in their Western Hockey League home opener.

“Last game was a bit of a feeler for us,” said Dieno, referring to Friday’s 4-2 win over the Ice at Cranbrook. “We kind of struggled a bit in Kootenay before finding our game in the third period. Tonight I thought we were great together and it looks like we’ll have a good year.”

The Ice were determined to gain a split in the season-opening home-and-home set and jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the midway point of the first period in front of 5,476 fans. Sam Reinhart was credited with the first goal after Rebels defenceman Brady Gaudet — during a Kootenay power play — inadvertently fired the puck into his own net at 6:47, and Kyle O’Connor cashed a feed from Colin Shirley two minutes later.

The Rebels, however, shrugged off the early charge by the visitors and pulled even on goals by Maxwell and Sutter at 10:36 and 14:03. Maxwell, going hard to the net, converted a great pass from Sutter, who in turn beat Ice goalie Mackenzie Skapski with one second remaining on an impressive Red Deer power play.

“We were pumped up with this being our home opener and then they (Ice) came out and scored two,” said Maxwell. “It would have been really easy to get down on ourselves, but we continued to work hard and we deserved this win. It showed the character of the guys.”

Added Dieno: “When you give up two goals off the hop you can’t get too low. You just have to stick to your game plan and it will all work out. We stuck to our game plan and started scoring goals.”

Gaudet staked the Rebels to their first lead of the evening when he connected from the left faceoff circle 3:51 into the middle frame, but the Ice drew even late in the period when Luke Philp deflected a feed from Reinhart over the shoulder of Rebels stopper Patrik Bartosak.

From there, it was all Rebels. Rookie Adam Musil cashed a rebound for his second goal of the season four minutes into the third period, Dieno broke free of coverage and connected 36 seconds later and Adam Bellerive sealed the deal with an empty-net marker in the final minute.

“This game was a lot like last night,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “We got better as the game went on. We were better in the second period and in the third we did a lot of good things again.

“We capitalized on some opportunities and got some key saves at key times. But it’s early in the season and there’s lots of work to be done. I’m sure Ryan (Ice head coach McGill) is saying the same thing about his team.”

Sutter said he fully expected his top line to be effective Saturday.

“There are two 20-year-olds and a 19-year-old (Maxwell) on that line and we need that kind of play from them,” he said. “We need them to be our best players and they got some big goals for us tonight.

“We need those guys but they’re just a part of the group. We need everyone to pull their weight, do things the right way and be accountable in the process. Those three guys have to lead the way.”

While Musil scored for the second night in succession, fellow rookie forwards Grayson Pawlenchuk, who had a goal and an assist Friday, and Cole Chorney were also impressive. Chorney, in fact, rang a shot off the iron just prior to Conner Bleackley hitting a post.

“I’m been really happy with them,” said Sutter. “They do exactly what we’re asking as coaches. The biggest thing for them is to work hard and be committed to the structure and compete level we want to play at. Those young kids were very good again tonight.”

Bartosak and Skapski also had their moments. Bartosak made 29 saves and robbed Shirley with a pad stop in the third period, while Skapski turned aside 35 shots including a stunning glove stab on Sutter in the middle stanza.

The Rebels enjoyed a prosperous opening weekend and will take momentum into their next contest, a Friday date with the 0-2 Regina Pats at the Centrium.

However, as Sutter noted . . .

“For us, it’s one day and one game at a time,” said the Rebels boss. “It’s a long year and we have lots of work to do. We have to work on our specialty teams and just our overall game, but that’s all right. As you go through the process and gets win while you’re doing it, that’s a positive. We got better in each of these two games and that’s encouraging.”

• Sutter pared his roster to 26 players earlier Saturday by reassigning defenceman Kaleb Denham and forward Mathieu Lapointe, both 17, to teams in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Denham is joining the Grande Prairie Storm and Lapointe is hooking up with the Drayton Valley Thunder.

The 26-player roster includes defenceman Matt Dumba, who is expected to open the NHL regular season with the Minnesota Wild.

Rebels

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

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney announced $200 million more money that will benefit seniors living in continuing care on Wednesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program expanding

Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program will expand to as many as… Continue reading

Parents and students learned Tuesday what the coming school year will look like. It's pretty much back to business as usual, said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. School precautions include frequent cleaning, keeping students in the same groups where possible, planning the school day to allow for physical distancing and staying home when sick. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s largest school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

CALGARY — Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a speaker appear by videoconference during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, April 9, 2021. Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau winds up Liberal convention with election campaign-style speech

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau wound up a three-day Liberal convention Saturday with… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot against Italy at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Men’s world curling championship in Calgary in COVID limbo

CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship in Calgary remained suspended Saturday… Continue reading

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Non-profit Quebec law centre to aid environmental group targeted by Alberta oil firm

QUEBEC — The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives cite empathy, relationships as ways to help expand their movement

OTTAWA — Conservatives should show empathy with Black residents who say they’ve… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. New Democrats are reconvening for the second day of a three-day policy convention as they look to push past the glitches of the virtual event's opening sessions and rally around keynote speaker John Horgan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats reconvene as hiccups, frustrations plague national policy convention

OTTAWA — New Democrats reconvened Saturday for the second day of a… Continue reading

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his commitment to the Republican Party — and raise the possibility that someone else will be the GOP's next presidential nominee — in a closed-door speech to donors Saturday night, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Trump in 2024? He says only that ‘a Republican’ will win

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his… Continue reading

A cruise ship sits docked waiting for passengers to be evacuated in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, Friday, April 9, 2021 due to the eruption of La Soufriere volcano. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Ash-covered St. Vincent braces for more volcanic eruptions

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — People who ignored an initial warning to evacuate… Continue reading

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Most Read