Rebels 4 Oil Kings 3 (SO)
EDMONTON — Maybe the Red Deer Rebels were too well rested Friday and Saturday while they dropped back-to-back WHL games on home ice.
Whatever, they were able to muster up a 4-3 shootout win over the Edmonton Oil Kings Sunday despite appearing in their third outing in a 72-hour span.
“It was a hard fought game and we had to fight through some adversity,” said Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin following the contest that drew 5,567 spectators to Rexall Place.
“For it being our third game in three nights, I thought we played and competed real hard.
“A lot of guys gave us a good effort and we really stuck with it tonight.”
The Rebels led 3-2 until Oil Kings winger Kristians Pelss forced a scoreless overtime frame with a goal at 12:07 of the third period. Red Deer actually appeared to notch a fourth goal three minutes later, but a tally by John Persson was wiped out when Turner Elson was called for hooking.
“It was just a real awful call on Elson. That shouldn’t have been a penalty and the goal should have counted,” said Wallin, who insisted an Edmonton defenceman dove in an attempt to block Colten Mayor’s pass to Persson and was never touched by Elson.
“That was as bad a call as I’ve seen all year.”
Still, the Rebels managed to kill the penalty and later got shootout goals from Alex Petrovic and Mayor. Tyler Maxwell was the lone Edmonton shooter to beat Red Deer netminder Deven Dubyk, who made 37 saves through regulation time and the extra five minutes.
Oil Kings goaltender Laurent Brossoit stopped 19 shots while allowing power-play goals by Mathew Dumba and Mayor and an even-strength tally by Persson. Jordan Peddle and Cole Benson accounted for Edmonton’s other goals.
“Our power play scored a couple of big goals. It was good to see it click again and the guys on it were sharp,” said Wallin. “And our penalty kill did an excellent job, especially in the second period. Our PK came up huge for us and Duber (Dubyk) stood tall when we needed him to and made some big saves. All in all I thought we really gutted it out and stuck with it and were committed to getting it done.”
The Rebels’ ridiculous run of bad luck continued Saturday when the club lost overage defenceman Justin Weller for six to 10 weeks with a broken wrist. Weller underwent surgery Sunday.
The rugged rearguard suffered the injury while the Rebels were killing a penalty in an eventual 3-2 overtime loss to visiting Medicine Hat, but managed to stick with the play.
“He got up and finished the penalty kill and even tried to block a shot with a broken wrist,” said Wallin. “He showed a lot of character to get back up and stay involved in the play like that. It was a gutsy effort.”
With Weller’s injury the Rebels blueline corps is down to seven. Will Wallin be seeking a depth defenceman prior to Tuesday’s 2 p.m. WHL trade deadline?
“I don’t know that a whole lot is going to happen. Nothing is imminent at this time,” he offered. “It’s tough to comment. We have a decision to make over the next couple of days.”
The Rebels sit ninth in the Eastern Conference, six points out of a playoff spot.
• Medicine Hat starting goalie and Edmonton Oiler pick Tyler Bunz has been charged with impaired driving following an incident in his hometown of St. Albert last May.
Bunz, 19, has entered a not guilty plea to two drunk driving related allegations with his trial on the charges scheduled for March 5, 2012. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Tigers general manager Bob McEwen said the hockey club is currently not commenting on the matter. The WHL team has been a strong supporter of the city police’s anti-drunk driving campaigns in recent years.