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Kelsey leads Red Deer Rebels to 5-1 win over Saskatoon Blades

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Saskatoon Blades forward Justin Lies tips a shot wide as Red Deer Rebels goaltender Kyle Kelsey tries to make a save during a game between the two teams at the Peavey Mart Centrium Friday evening. (Photo by Sean McIntosh)

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Kyle Kelsey stopped 34 of 35 shots as the Red Deer Rebels downed the Saskatoon Blades 5-1 on Friday night.

“I felt good tonight,” Kelsey said following his team’s win at the Peavey Mart Centrium on Friday night.

“It’s been a while since I felt good playing, especially (since) coming back from injury. I felt dialed in.”

Rebels coach Steve Konowalchuk praised Kelsey’s efforts following the game.

“Very good night. That was the kind of play we saw a lot earlier in the year. A few different things have held him back as of late,” Konowalchuk said.

Kai Uchacz scored the game’s opening goal by gathering a loose puck in the slot and powering a wrist shot past Blades goaltender Ethan Chadwick 3:34 into the first.

In the second period, Red Deer’s Carson Burnie was assessed a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct after a hit on Saskatoon’s Justin. It appeared Lies banged his head on the glass as a result of the hit. He had to be stretchered off of the ice.

The Rebels killed off the five-minute major, which Konowalchuk called as a “huge penalty kill.” The Rebels then quickly added a few more goals to their lead.

Uchacz picked up his second point of the game by sliding a puck to Kalan Lind, who fired a shot into the net 12 minutes into the second. The tally was Lind’s 15th of the season.

Less than a minute later, Rebels defenceman Christoffer Sedoff fired a shot from the blueline, which was tipped by teammate Dwayne Jean Jr. and then bounced off of a Saskatoon player. The puck popped up into the air, over Saskatoon’s goalie’s head and into the net. The goal was initially waved off, but the officials gathered and called it a good goal.

Ben King scored his seventh of the season by firing a wrist shot into the top corner during a Rebels powerplay 14:22 into the middle frame.

Uchacz picked up his 38th goal of the campaign 10:31 into the third period, after collecting his own rebound off of a blocked shot and firing the puck into the top corner.

Kelsey made a huge save for the Rebels with 8:30 left on the clock. He reached back with his glove hand to rob a Saskatoon skater on the goal line. The Blades had another golden opportunity shortly after, but hit the crossbar.

Blades forward Egor Sidorov finally broke Kelsey’s shutout bid 13:34 into the final frame by making a nice move to the inside and beating the Rebels netminder over the blocker.

Kelsey admitted he was “a little bit” disappointed to see his shutout disappear with about six minutes remaining.

“But it happens,” he said with a smile.

The three stars were: Kai Uchacz (1), Kyle Kelsey (2) and Frantisek Formanek (3).

The Rebels return to action Saturday evening, as they host the Winnipeg ICE at the Peavey Mart Centrium in Red Deer. Winnipeg, which currently has the best record in the WHL, has won both of its matchups against Red Deer this season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Red Deer Rebels forward Jhett Larsen tries to make a move past former teammate and current Saskatoon Blades defenceman Blake Gustafson during a game between the two teams at the Peavey Mart Centrium Friday evening. (Photo by Sean McIntosh)

Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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