Ivan Nikolishin opens the scoring for the Red Deer Rebels Friday as he puts a blocker side shot past Saskatoon Blade goaltender Brock Hamm during first-period action at the Centrium.

Ivan Nikolishin opens the scoring for the Red Deer Rebels Friday as he puts a blocker side shot past Saskatoon Blade goaltender Brock Hamm during first-period action at the Centrium.

Nikolishin dismantles Blades

Ivan Nikolishin figured the Red Deer Rebels owed ‘em one.

Ivan Nikolishin figured the Red Deer Rebels owed ‘em one.

The Rebels, recalling a 4-2 road loss to the Saskatoon Blades Nov. 7, took it to the visitors Friday night at the Centrium, prevailing 6-1 on a night Nikolishin recorded a hat trick.

The Russian winger notched his 13th, 14th and 15th goals of the season as the Rebels started slow but finished strong in front of a crowd of 6,234 at the Centrium.

“We won and we won with a lead, and that’s the most important thing,” said Nikolishin. “We remembered what they did to us in Saskatoon, so that was in our heads. We came out hard and played for 60 minutes.”

The Rebels were outshot 10-4 in the opening frame and 29-27 overall, but the quality scoring chances were heavily in their favour.

“I think we just played hard and the chances came. They (Blades) also turned over the puck,” said Nikolishin, who agreed that the Rebels grew stronger as the game progressed.

Nikolishin opened the scoring at 11:07 of the first period, pouncing on a giveaway at the Blades blueline, skating in alone and beating netminder Brock Hamm with a nifty deke to the short side.

The visitors drew even just over two minutes later when Wyatt Sloboshan pulled in a stretch pass from Mitch Wheaton and whipped a wrist shot from inside the faceoff circle past goaltender Rylan Toth.

Nikolishin’s second of the evening, at 1:17 of the middle period and off a perfect feed from Evan Polei, was the eventual winner, and he notched his third midway through the frame, one-timing a nifty give-and-go pass from Michael Spacek into the back of the Blades net.

“After the first 15 minutes we got skating and got moving. Our heads were working better and we were making some plays,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.

The Rebels boss, however, wasn’t thrilled with his club’s lack of discipline in the second period when they were assessed a trio of consecutive infractions.

“We were controlling it in the second period and then we got those three minor penalties in a row and allowed them to get some momentum back,” he said. “We talked in the second intermission about getting that back and taking control of the game again, and the guys did a great job of that.”

The Rebels, now 13-0-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes this season, sniped three unanswered goals in the third period while outshooting their guests 15-6. Adam Musil cashed his own rebound at 1:58, Wyatt Johnson converted a pass from Conner Bleackley 26 seconds later and Musil potted his second of the evening and seventh of the season with 3:09 remaining.

The Musil-Polei-Lane Pederson line was dominant throughout the contest, both physically and on the scoresheet. Musil finished with three points, Polei picked up three helpers and Pederson had two assists.

“It’s a big line and that’s how we expect them to play,” said Sutter. “ They were moving their feet and finishing checks. They were engaged and they were responsible.

“A lot of nights they’re going to play against the other team’s top line. They’re a hard line to play against when they do things right. The last two and a half to three weeks Adam and Evan have really taken their game to another level. Whoever has been playing with them has done a really good job and tonight it was Pedey.

“It’s a good line and as long as they play the game the right way they’ll be successful.”

Toth was solid while picking up his 12th win of the season. He finished with 28 saves and while he didn’t face a high number of first-rate shots, the second-year stopper robbed Nikita Soshnin with an early pad save and later denied Mason McCarty from close range.

Hamm, who blocked 21 shots, couldn’t be faulted on a single Red Deer goal and came up big on several occasions — particularly in the final frame — to prevent an all-out rout.

l The Rebels are idle until Tuesday when they host the Regina Pats … Red Deer was minus the services of injured defencemen Kayle Doetzel, Josh Mahura and Braden Purtill, while forward Presten Kopeck served a one-game suspension for a kneeing penalty he was assessed in the Rebels’ 4-1 win last Saturday at Moose Jaw.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

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

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read