Rebels 3 Ice 1
CRANBROOK — Perhaps Taz Burman, despite the fact he gave up just one goal in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Kootenay Ice one week previous in which visiting netminder Wyatt Hoflin made 38 saves, felt he had to return the favour.
Whatever, Burman turned aside 30 shots and was named first star of the game as the Rebels dropped the Ice 3-1 Friday in front of 2,596 fans at Western Financial Place.
“Our goalie was very good and we did a really good job of managing the game in a proper way,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
The Rebels boss was particularly impressed with Burman, who blanked the hosts until Cale Fleury — the brother of Rebels defenceman Haydn Fleury — connected at 15:40 of the third period.
“He’s been very consistent with his game his last three outings,” said Sutter. “He’s done a very good job of seeing pucks, a great job of controlling rebounds and his angles have been outstanding. He’s played really well.
“And he’s playing with confidence, which is the big thing.”
Rookie forward Jeff de Wit gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season 2:16 into the contest, and Presten Kopeck potted his 11th with 12 seconds remaining in the opening frame.
With Ice star forward Jaedon Descheneau serving a tripping penalty in the third period, Riley Sheen connected to give the Rebels a 3-0 lead.
Despite the fact the Rebels were outshot 31-22 overall, Sutter liked his team’s defensive play.
“I thought we did a really good job defensively. We didn’t give up much in the middle of the ice and when there was something we did a good job of blocking shots,” he said. “We kept things to the outside.”
In the end, the victory made up for last week’s hard-luck loss to the Ice.
“It’s funny how the hockey gods work,” said Sutter. “I thought we did some really good things tonight. There are things we need to work on and get better at, but all in all our work ethic and awareness was very good. Everyone was focused and dialed in.”
The Rebels returned home early today and will face the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings tonight at 7 p.m.
The Wheat Kings have been waiting in Red Deer and practised Friday at the Centrium.
“That’s the schedule, that’s the way it is,” said Sutter. “But it’s fine. This is a challenging weekend for us, a good test.”
• The Rebels were one-for-two on the power play; the Ice were zero-for-two . . . Cale and Haydn Fleury were selected as the second and third stars of the game . . . Fleury was the Rebels’ best plus/minus player at plus-2 . . . The Rebels head out on the road next week for games Tuesday and Wednesday at Lethbridge and Calgary, then host the Victoria Royals and Regina Pats Friday and Saturday.