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Rebels Chase Wutzke named WHL Rookie of the Month

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Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mats Lindgren fires the puck out of their zone after netminder Chase Wutzke made a save in the first round. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Red Deer Rebels netminder Chase Wutzke took his game to another level last week.

As a result, the 17-year-old from Debden, Sask. was named the Western Hockey League Rookie of the Week for his stellar play in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

This marks the first time Wutzke has won the honour despite winning WHL GOaltedner of the Week three times and WHL Goaltender of the Month once this season.

Last week he went undefeated in three straight games en route to eliminating the Medicine Hat Tigers in Game 5 on the road at Co-op Place.

During that time he posted a 2.25 goals against average and a .937 save percentage.

With the series tied at one game apiece, Wutzke stood on his head in a 4-2 overtime victory in their first home game of the series.

In Game 4, the rookie had another outstanding game including a highlight reel save on Tigers phenom Gavin McKenna on the powerplay. That save led to Jhett Larson scoring a shorthanded breakaway goal. Wutzke finished the game with 33 saves and was named the first star.

However, he saved his best performance for arguably the season’s biggest game thus far.

With a chance to eliminate the Tigers in Game 5, Wutzke made 36 saves in a 5-2 win to send the Rebels to the second round for the third straight year.

In a video posted to the Rebels’ Twitter account, Wutzke said it felt great to advance to the second round.

“We came into the series as the underdogs and came out with the win. It’s awesome,” he said.

“The boys were awesome. They were moving guys out front and we’ve just got to keep playing that way in the next series.”

He finished the first round with a 4-1 record posting a 2.59 GAA and a .922 save percentage.

NHL Central Scouting ranked Wutzke 13th among all draft-eligible North American goalies in the midterm rankings. He’s poised to be selected in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft in June.

The Rebels are now set to take on the Saskatoon Blades in a rematch of the Eastern Conference Semifinals beginning on Friday.

“It’ll be awesome, we’re extremely excited. We’ve proven that we can beat them this year so we’ve just got to keep playing the way we are.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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