Rebels youth get trial by fire

The Red Deer Rebels’ slow start in Saturday’s Western Hockey League preseason-opening loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings didn’t concern Brent Sutter. Nor was the Rebels GM/head coach disappointed with the manner in which his rookie-laden crew — with the roster featuring 15-year-olds Jacob Herauf and Eli Zummack — went about its overall business at Servus Credit Union Place while dropping a 5-2 decision.

ST. ALBERT — The Red Deer Rebels’ slow start in Saturday’s Western Hockey League preseason-opening loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings didn’t concern Brent Sutter.

Nor was the Rebels GM/head coach disappointed with the manner in which his rookie-laden crew — with the roster featuring 15-year-olds Jacob Herauf and Eli Zummack — went about its overall business at Servus Credit Union Place while dropping a 5-2 decision.

“We dressed a young lineup and it took those kids a while to adjust to the pace and the timing,” said Sutter. “Edmonton had a decent team dressed, so it was good for our young kids to go through that. It’s what that first exhibition game is about — getting those kids some game experience before they all have to go back to their midget teams.

“With all that being said, I thought our veterans were fine, as well.”

The Rebels had seven returnees in their lineup — defencemen Josh Mahura and Austin Strand, and forwards Reese Johnson, Jeff de Wit, Evan Polei, Adam Musil and Grayson Pawlenchuk— as well as former Seattle T-Birds centre Lane Pederson, as opposed to nine for the Oil Kings.

After a scoreless opening period, the Oil Kings got a goal from Colton Kehler at 4:43 of the middle frame and never looked back. Kyle Yewchuk and Lane Bauer both beat Rebels netminder Dawson Weatherill before the second intermission.

The Rebels finally got on the board when Akash Bains connected at 3:34 of the third period, but Brandon Ralph restored Edmonton’s three-goal cushion at the 7:07 mark.

From there, Musil closed the gap — beating netminder Carter Phair — 10 minutes later and Oil Kings winger Garan Magnes rounded out the evening with an empty-net marker with 23 seconds remaining.

Edmonton starting netminder Alec Dillon turned aside all 10 shots he faced through the first half of the game, while Phair made 13 saves, including nine in a third period in which the Rebels held an 11-7 edge in shots. Weatherill made 29 saves while going the distance in the Red Deer net.

Sutter was impressed with de Wit, Pawlenchuk and Polei, and also credited all 11 rookie skaters for at least holding their own.

“I thought they (prospects) were all good in their own way,” said the Rebels boss, noting that defencemen Ethan Sakowich and Herauf, along with forward Austin Pratt, were more than adequate.

“Weatherill also played well in net,” added Sutter. “For our first (preseason) game, it was exactly what we expected. It just took the younger kids a while to adjust to everything.”

l Six players — Pederson and Wyatt Johnson (both Anaheim), Polei (Detroit), Michael Spacek and Nelson Nogier (both Winnipeg), and Musil (St, Louis) — will leave Wednesday for NHL camps, while Conner Bleackley will depart for Colorado Saturday. Haydn Fleury left last week for the Carolina Hurricanes camp.

l The Rebels resume their preseason schedule this weekend with two games at the Tri-City tournament in Kennewick, Wash., taking on the host Americans Friday and facing the Spokane Chiefs 24 hours later.Red Deer’s final two exhibition contests are Sept. 18 versus the Oil Kings at the Centrium and the following night at Stettler against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Rebels’ regular-season opener is Sept. 26 at home to Edmonton.

Just Posted

2019 Women of Excellence Awards nominees announced

The nominees were announced in Red Deer Thursday

City watching speed limit debate

Blackfalds, Calgary and Edmonton the latest to consider reduced residential speed limits

Movie shot in Red Deer and Lacombe is nominated for Alberta film award

‘Cor Values’ is up for a Best Feature Rosie

Red Deer developer ordered to replant some of the levelled College Park trees

Some residents don’t believe restoration plans go far enough

Red Deer election forum set for April 11

Presented by Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce

Local Sports: Queen’s Avery Lajeunesse not afraid to get physical

A year ago Avery Lajeunesse made a commitment to join the RDC… Continue reading

Seniors: Exposing the hype surrounding supplements

Do we need dietary supplements as we age? Do these supplements actually… Continue reading

Eight warning signs you won’t finish college

Forty per cent of students who enrol in a four-year college don’t… Continue reading

Photos: Deer spotted in Red Deer

Spring has sprung. One Advocate reader has been seeing a herd of… Continue reading

Ken Johnston competes in Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off

Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off will be held April 13

Oil field worker to show off his moves on the dance floor

Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off will be held April 13

Radio show host is Sheraton Celebrity dancer in Red Deer

VINNIE TAYLOR You may have heard Vinnie Taylor on the radio in… Continue reading

Dancing dentist of Innisfail

Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off will be held April 13

Most Read