Red Deer Rebels goalie Ethan Anders is in his third WHL season and is expected to carry a big load for the Rebels this season. (Black Press File Photo) Red Deer Rebels goalie Ethan Anders is in his third WHL season and is expected to carry a big load for the Rebels this season. (Black Press File Photo)

Anders expected to carry heavy workload for Rebels

For Ethan Anders, sometimes more is better.

The 19-year-old netminder from Pilot Butte, Sask., is expected to be the bell-cow between the pipes for the Red Deer Rebels, much like he was a season ago.

He played a career-high 57 games last year, leaving just 11 for backup Byron Fancy, who will once again serve as the Rebels second goaltender to start the season.

Anders said that last year, after a hot start including goalie of the week honours in early November, he tapered off in the second half.

He admits most of that was a failure to find consistency in the latter half of the season.

“I felt like there were times when I was really consistent and playing well and there were times later in the season on a back-to-back where I’d play really well and not play as well the next game,” said the third-year goalie.

“Just want to be consistent, give these guys a chance to win.”

With a pair of goalies who have combined to play 121 regular-season games in the WHL, Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter noted this week that the tandem will need to be a security blanket for a young group this season.

“We need to have good goaltending. There’s no reason why our goaltending can’t be a very established duo in our league with the experience both these guys have playing in the league,” Sutter said.

“There’s nights when we’re going to need our goalies to play lights out for us. Because our young kids are going to fight some nights.”

As the last line of defence, Anders understands that with a young, inexperienced group in front of him, he will be relied on a lot, sometimes heavily.

Last season he faced 1,789 shots and posted a 0.907 save percentage. That had him ranked 16th among goalies with more than 30 starts last season and will need to be better in the upcoming campaign if the Rebels hope to reach the playoffs.

“I really liked that last year. I liked playing a lot and I like being accountable. I like Brent going to me. It’s just something I want to do again this year,” he said.

Especially considering last year there was talk Anders might sneak is way into the later rounds of the NHL Draft. That ultimately materialize, nor did he receive a camp invite this summer.

Instead, he skated lots in late July, did some yoga to focus on his flexibility and hopes that’s another factor in his improved consistency.

“Worked out five times a week, did some yoga and once July came, skated three or four times a week and build up from there,” he said.

Through two WHL seasons, Anders’ goals-against average in his rookie year and last year were exactly the same at 3.09. Those numbers also may have got in his head a little bit last year and this season he’s focusing on the day-to-day performances.

“I just want to play a lot and play well. I don’t want to worry a whole lot about the numbers or anything like that. Just want to worry about stuff I can control and focus on the controllables,” he said.

Like most of the group, the netminder understands they’ll be young and there will be mistakes in front of him. Anders is simply ready to embrace the challenge.

“I’m really excited,” he said.

“It could go either way, could get a lot of shots, could be a quiet game. I’m just ready for whatever comes my way.”

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Scheer appears to backtrack on commitment to not allow debate on abortion

OTTAWA — Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay once called social-conservative causes a… Continue reading

Eclectic artistic visions shown during First Friday in March

Exhibits range from birds and dinosaurs, to poetic medical journeys

Coronavirus fear touches off a global run on face masks

Fear of the spreading coronavirus has led to a global run on… Continue reading

Statistics Canada says economic growth slowed to 0.3% annual pace in Q4

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter… Continue reading

Tories call on government to compensate dairy farmers ‘left behind’ in new NAFTA

OTTAWA — The Conservative opposition says the government must compensate dairy farmers… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Tammy’s big makeover

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Canadian Jonathan David scores again as Gent ties Roma in Europa League play

GHENT, Belgium — Canadian Jonathan David, who had a hat trick in… Continue reading

Coronavirus scuttles pre-Olympic camp for Canada’s women’s water polo team

TORONTO — Canada’s women’s water polo team was scheduled to be on… Continue reading

Virus fears lead K-pop superstars BTS to cancel Seoul shows

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — K-pop superstars BTS cancelled an upcoming concert… Continue reading

The prince and the pop star work on charity single in London

LONDON — Prince Harry joined Jon Bon Jovi at Abbey Road Studios… Continue reading

Granlund beats buzzer, scores in OT as Preds beat Flames 4-3

Predators 4 Flames 3 (OT) NASHVILLE — The Nashville Predators gambled that… Continue reading

Ministers wrap pipeline talks with hereditary chiefs for the day in B.C.

SMITHERS, B.C. — The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en sat down Thursday… Continue reading

Gardening: Taking a break from the winter

Looking for a break from winter and dream of summer without leaving… Continue reading

Most Read