Red Deer Rebels forward Carter Anderson came to play this season and it’s shown on the ice and on the scoresheet.
In his third Western Hockey League (WHL) campaign, the 18-year-old already has three goals, one in each of his first three games. Of those, two have been game-winners and the 2004-born forward has already seen improvement from last season when he only had seven goals in 65 games.
“It’s been good. Just as a team we’re executing on everything and it’s just the little things we need to work on and it should be good,” he said.
Anderson didn’t contribute his success to anything he did differently in the offseason but did and continues to work on his speed, which he said has been a major factor in his game so far.
“I worked hard in the summer and it’s paid off,” he said.
To improve that aspect of his skillset Anderson worked on off-ice explosive training, which entails strapping on a parachute and doing drills such as sprints.
“Obviously I wanted to get faster I always want to get better. That’s what I did to improve my game and overall it’s worked out,” he added.
At the end of last season the coaching staff encouraged Anderson to work on his mental preparation and if addressed, could help him take the next step.
Since then he’s prepared by picturing himself out on the ice and mentally shuffles through how he’ll start the game, how he’ll impact the outcome, and what his next shift will look like.
Anderson returned to his home in Thompson, Man. this summer but spent some time in Winnipeg to train and also visited family. Since he was in Grade nine he’s often split his time between the two cities.
This season he hopes to bring the Ed Chynoweth Cup back to Red Deer but it’s still early in the season and for now, he’s focused on getting better every day.
Anderson started the first two games alongside Ollie Josephson and Talon Brigley. After some line shuffling, he found himself on the third and fourth line with Arjun Bawa and rookie Escalus Burlock but also saw some time with rookie Carson Birnie.
Regardless of where he’s placed in the lineup, he has continued to produce offensively, which has caught the eye of his coaching staff. At the end of the 4-2 win against the Regina Pats last Saturday at the Peavey Mart Centrium, head coach Steve Konowalchuk gave Anderson some credit.
“[He] started on the fourth line but he was playing so didn’t pout about anything goes out and plays. It was a really good team effort,” Konowalchuk said.
The Rebels are 3-0 this season and are one of just five undefeated teams left in the WHL. They hit the ice for a pair of home games over the weekend, taking on the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday night at 7 p.m., followed by the Calgary Hitmen Saturday.