Rebels 5 Oil Kings 2
There was certainly no love lost between the Red Deer Rebels and the Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday night.
Nearly 24 hours after the two teams faced each other at the Peavey Mart Centrium, the Central Division rivals squared off in Edmonton Saturday night.
As the final seconds of the third period dwindled down in a 5-2 blowout win for the Rebels, multiple scuffles broke out as tempers reached their breaking point. Rookie forward Carson Birnie dropped the gloves meanwhile Rebels Frantisek Formanek and Hunter Mayo went off for roughing in the final five seconds.
Five minutes before that defenceman Mats Lindgren and Oil Kings forward John Szabo took part in the busy night of fisticuffs. Rewinding even further at the beginning of the second period Rebels forward Kalan Lind and Rhett Melnyk also exchanged punches.
However, the boiling over of emotions is to be expected when playing a divisional rival.
“I thought both games were pretty good battles,” said head coach Steve Konowalchuk after the game. “Sometimes when you play hard emotions like that get going but you know I thought our guys stuck up for themselves.”
The Rebels were first to get on the board in the opening period at the 12:48 mark forward Kai Uchacz scored on the powerplay for his team-leading 22nd goal of the season. Grubbe, who assisted on the play, got his 100th career point.
Uchacz was the lone goal scorer of the period and both teams wouldn’t light the lamp until the third period.
Saturday night was also the Oil Kings’ annual Teddy Bear Toss night at Rogers Arena as fans waited in anticipation only to have two potential scoring chances in the second period to ring off the post.
In the final frame, forward Craig Armstrong extended the Rebels’ lead 2-0 before the Oil Kings finally got their teddy bear night goal off the stick of Noah Boyko a few minutes after.
Grubbe added his ninth of the year at the midway point to extend their lead 3-1. Mayo hammered his shot in on the powerplay at nearly the 16:00 mark before forward Arjun Bawa added the second goal of his rookie campaign with a minute left.
The Oil Kings added one more tally in the final 34 seconds to close the gap but it wasn’t enough to beat Red Deer.
With the victory, the Rebels have now won three straight with two more games on hand before the Christmas break.
“I thought the first period was really sound,” Konowalchuk added. “It was solid and the way you’d want to draw up the first period on the road. We really just stuck with it for most of the game. In the second period, I thought Edmonton tried to push a little bit but in the third period we got right back at it.”
“It was a really solid win and we have to continue to work for it for 60 minutes.”