Rebels 5 Hurricanes 0
The Red Deer Rebels weren’t going to make the same mistake twice.
After a slow start led to a 3-2 loss to the Kootenay Ice in their previous road game Wednesday, the Red Deer Rebels were focused right from the opening faceoff Saturday and skated to a convincing 5-0 Western Hockey League win over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes.
“We played another real solid game,” said Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin, who liked most of his team’s performance in a 3-2 shootout loss to the visiting Everett Silvertips Friday.
“We came out and established our game right off the bat and had a real good first period, then sustained that right through the second period as well.”
Red Deer defenceman Mathew Dumba scored his first of two goals on the evening at 8:40 of the opening frame, ripping a power-play feed from Colten Mayor past netminder Liam Liston before 2,978 fans at the Enmax Centre.
Turner Elson doubled the lead late in the period, breaking in off the left wing, zipping past ‘Canes defencemen Tyler Kizuik and Albin Blomqvist and poking the puck past Liston.
Rebels captain Adam Kambeitz upped the count to 3-0 on a nifty feed from Elson at 6:43 of the second period and Mayor scored Red Deer’s fourth goal — and his fourth of the season — just 79 seconds later.
Tempers flared at the end of the period when Josh Cowen delivered a big hit on Hurricanes captain Cam Braes.
“They (‘Canes) took exception to the hit. They were down by four at that point so it got pretty intense there,” said Wallin.
“We lost focus and ended up taking a two-minute penalty.”
Wallin was referring to an unsportsmanlike infraction assessed to goaltender Patrik Bartosak, who gestured to the scoreboard while skating past a furious and talkative Lethbridge players bench.
The Hurricanes opened the third period on a power play but never capitalized.
“The guys did a real good job of regrouping. We talked about what happened the night before (when the Rebels allowed the Silvertips back in the game with three early third-period penalties) and having to stay focused, and we did a good job of that,” said Wallin.
“We killed the penalty at the start of the third and did a good job of staying focused, sticking to our game plan and bringing it home.”
Dumba closed out the scoring with his fifth tally of the season — another power-play marker — at 7:47 of the third period.
Red Deer peppered Liston with 42 shots, while Bartosak made 29 saves for his first-ever WHL shutout.
“We did a good job of limiting their opportunities but Patty had to be sharp on four or five occasions,” said Wallin. “He was focused and battled hard like he always does and made saves when we needed him to.”
“They’re a good team and I don’t think we were very good tonight,” Hurricanes head coach Rich Preston told the Lethbridge Herald. “Our confidence is such that they get an early goal and our guys go into a bit of a shell. But it’s tough to win a game when you don’t score any goals. I don’t think their goalie was great, we didn’t generate enough.”
The Rebels return to practice today and host the Seattle Thunderbirds Friday.
• Conner Bleackley, Red Deer’s first-round pick in this year’s WHL bantam draft, scored once and added two assists to help Team Alberta dump Manitoba 10-4 Sunday in the gold-medal game of the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup at Moose Jaw.