Chiefs 5 Rebels 1
Adam Beckman is very good.
One look at the WHL scoring race and you can easily see why, but his talent was on full display for the Red Deer Rebels and hockey fans Friday night at the Centrium.
The Saskatoon, Sask. product has been on a tear in his third WHL season and showed no signs of slowing in the Spokane Chiefs’ first visit to Red Deer since 2017.
The WHL’s leading point producer put the Chiefs on his back, burying a hat trick and adding a helper in a dominant 5-1 win over the Rebels Friday.
Shutting down Beckman and Chiefs captain Ty Smith, who had a goal and two assists himself, was an important task drawn out by the Rebels coaching staff heading into the contest, but not executed according to GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
“I thought we were fine for half the game but when you give up odd-man rushes and take bad penalties and the third period we took bad penalties and they capitalized,” Sutter said.
“We can’t play that way. When you’re not an offensive juggernaut team, you can’t be a high-risk team and trying to get it through has been a difficult thing all year. It’s something they fight because they all want to be offensive-minded players and the reality is, we don’t have a lot of offensive-minded players.”
The loss Friday, combined with a Saskatoon Blades win also officially put an end to the Rebels playoff hopes.
Chiefs forward Michael King notched the only goal of the first period, a seeing eye-point shot through a screen that eluded Byron Fancy.
Midway through the second, as Cordel Larson exited the penalty box, the Rebels got caught and Spokane broke in on a three-on-one. Eli Zummack found the WHL’s leading scorer across the ice and Beckman made no mistake on his 45th goal of the year.
The Minnesota Wild third round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft helped make it 3-0 less than three minutes later, dropping a pass back to Ty Smith, who buried a laser past Fancy.
Red Deer showed a bit of life late in the third when Cam Hausinger slipped a shot in from just outside the crease to cut the deficit.
“Our work ethic was fine, I thought we had a real good start to the game and they got a bad goal on us and we’re down 1-0. Then we start giving up odd-man rushes and next you know it’s 3-0, then you get one back,” Sutter said.
That life was quickly extinguished 53 seconds into the third period when Beckman struck again. Left alone in the slot, the forward was johnny-on-the-spot and blasted home his 46th of the year.
“At the end of the second period, we talked about playing not such high-risk hockey,” Sutter said.
“Very first shift in the third, we get caught up the ice and it’s an odd-man rush and our forward doesn’t pick up the right guy and it’s 4-1 and we’re battling from behind, it’s just not smart. From a coaching standpoint, it’s troublesome because you work on all this stuff every day in practice and we’re in March and we’re still doing the same stuff we were doing in September.”
Beckman put on a bow on the victory, burying a laser past Fancy for his third of the night with 1:42 to play.
Chiefs goalie James Porter Jr. also quietly had a big night, stopping 32 shots in the win. Fancy made 31 saves in the loss.
The Rebels will take on the Swift Current Broncos Saturday with puck drop set for 7 p.m. at the Centrium.