Rebels 4 Tigers 0
The Red Deer Bantam AAA Rebels were flying on home ice in their Alberta Bantam AAA Hockey League home opener.
Four different Rebels found the back of the net in the first 40 minutes of the contest as they rolled to a 4-0 victory over the Southeast Athletic Club Tigers at Servus Arena Saturday.
Brock Lott stopped 17 shots for the shutout, while Caleb Hadland and Josh Perreault had tallies in the opening frame. Quinn Sampson-Goodman and returning forward Chase Walker added goals in the second.
“We’ve got everybody firing, just rolled lines and they just went through and they worked. That’s all we can ask right now. The structure is coming, but they worked hard,” said Rebels head coach Justin Jarmolicz.
“We really work hard to compete and make sure guys know where they’re supposed to be. We want to make sure that the compete is there first and we can work with it from there.”
They outshot Medicine Hat 41-17 in the win.
The new Rebels group, is much different than the 2018-19 group that won the league title, were the south division champs and lost in the Hockey Alberta provincial final in a five-game thriller. They had eight players selected in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.
They are only returning four players from that group, including Walker, Harrison Lodewyk, Talon Brigley and defenceman Justice Christensen. Still, Jarmolicz thinks they’ll be a tough team to check with their depth.
“We’re pretty deep. All four lines can just roll. Our d-men are really aggressive. They can jump up, they’re really skilled and our goaltender was solid, he got the shutout. Props to every one of them,” he said.
“Last year was one of those years, we had a good group of kids, we had a lot of high-end skill that got us a long way. The work ethic and there’s still a lot of skill out here too, we’re going to be right there at the end too, I feel. We’ve got the team to go a long way. Our leaders are real good in there, they learned a lot last year.”
Jarmolicz has helped the program establish a solid reputation, with 19 players getting selected in the last four years of the WHL Bantam Draft.
That talented pipeline is bringing players from all over Central Alberta, like Alix, Sundre, Olds, Lacombe and Sylvan Lake. With strong leadership, it easy to help those kids find a bond and gel quickly.
“The big thing is the culture stuff. Those four boys have really established it in the room and with teams like ours, we have kids from all over the place,” he said.
“Some of them don’t even know each other when they get here. It takes some time to gel, but we’re gonna be just fine.”
Sunday, the Rebels continued to roll with a 5-3 win over the Calgary Bisons.
Sampson-Goodman buried a pair and added an assist, Christensen and Perreault also each scored. Hadland added an empty-net goal.
The Rebels head to Abbotsford on the Thanksgiving weekend in what is becoming an annual tradition for the club. They secured an invite to the Bauer Bantam Elite tournament.
“It’s the first big tournament in Western Canada. It’s invite-only, we were lucky enough to be invited with the depth we have. It’s really a one-stop-shop for the WHL scouts,” Jarmolicz said.