The Red Deer Rebels are back in the win column.
After a four-game losing streak last week the Rebels snapped the skid after a victorious outing against the defending WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings.
Head coach Steve Konowalchuk said he liked his team’s approach to the game.
“The guys were very serious. The work ethic was there and the commitment to the system and getting back to the identity that we need to play with,” he said. “I think everybody was on board with trying to play to our identity and [Jayden] Grubbe physically led the way.”
The Rebels struck early just five minutes in when forward Frantisek Formanek passed to forward Jace Isley in the slot who fired in a wrist shot.
Midway through the first period, while Edmonton was on the powerplay Rebels goaltender Kyle Kelsey made a fantastic save off a one-time shot on a rebound that saw him extend across the crease.
In the middle frame, the Rebels didn’t let up. While on the powerplay captain Jayden Grubbe walked in from the blue line to the top of the circle and wired in a wrist shot in the bottom right corner.
With just five minutes left in the period, forward Kalan Lind scored his third of the season on the powerplay. Grubbe fed Lind the puck in front of the net and Lind tucked it in for his first goal since Oct. 19 against the Hitmen.
Four minutes later Grubbe completed the Gordie Howe hat trick after he dropped the gloves with defenceman Carter Kowalyk which all started after a player steamrolled Kelsey.
“That’s good from our captain and again he’s a big part of our identity,” Konowalchuk said. “We want to play a big strong 200-foot game and he led the way that way as did others… I thought our leaders played strong games.”
In the final period, Lind sniped his second-of-the-game short side on the powerplay off a pass from defenceman Christoffer Sedoff two minutes into the period. Three assists from Sedoff Tuesday night marked his 100th career point in the Western Hockey League.
Five minutes later the Oil Kings spoiled Kelsey’s shutout when forward Carson Golder fired one in on the powerplay off a pass from defenceman Vojtech Port.
Red Deer returned to their strong special teams play with three powerplay goals on seven attempts and holding Edmonton to just one goal with the man advantage on 11 attempts. The Rebels struggled during the four-game losing streak on special teams allowing too many powerplay goals but Konowalchuk said it was great to see both of those get back on track Tuesday night.
“Our play even when we were winning games at times wasn’t as sharp and it started to sneak into our special teams. I thought our play was sharper today,” he said.
Kelsey was solid between the pipes and made 23 saves in an effort to put his team back on top.
Next up for the Rebels is a matchup in Lethbridge Friday night against the Hurricanes at 7 p.m. before they play their first home game in three weeks on Saturday against the Brandon Wheat Kings at 7 p.m.