\ Brandon Hagel of the Red Deer Rebels attempts to put a puck past Edmonton Oil Kings goaltender Alec Dillon while fending off Oil Kings defenceman Will Warm during WHL preseason action at the Enmax Centrium on Friday night.

\ Brandon Hagel of the Red Deer Rebels attempts to put a puck past Edmonton Oil Kings goaltender Alec Dillon while fending off Oil Kings defenceman Will Warm during WHL preseason action at the Enmax Centrium on Friday night.

Rebels down Oil Kings 5-3 in WHL exhibition play

The Red Deer Rebels were all spit and vinegar for the first two periods of Friday’s Western Hockey League preseason game at the Centrium. As for the third period … not so much.

Rebels 5 Oil Kings 3

The Red Deer Rebels were all spit and vinegar for the first two periods of Friday’s Western Hockey League preseason game at the Centrium.

As for the third period … not so much.

The Rebels controlled the opening 40 minutes, jumping out to a four-goal lead while enjoying a 25-15 advantage in shots en route to a 5-3 win.

The visitors, however, outshot their hosts 14-3 in the final frame while getting unanswered goals from defencemen Anatolii Elizarov and Aaron Irving.

“It’s just a matter of staying with it for 60 (minutes),” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter, who still has eight players away at NHL training camps and dressed 16 skaters Friday.

“We were playing with a short bench and yet I just thought we dropped our guard a bit in the third. We let them dictate the third period, plus we started taking penalties and that’s what we did against Spokane (in a 5-3 exhibition loss in the Tri-City Americans tournament) last weekend too.”

As Sutter pointed out, the third-period lapse was the lone negative in the game viewed by close to 3,000 fans.

“There were some good signs and we got some quality efforts from a lot of guys,” he said.

“I don’t know if we ran out of gas because a lot of guys are playing a lot of minutes just because of (the shortage of) bodies, but it’s exhibition and it will continue to sort itself out.”

The line of Jeff de Wit and wingers Austin Pratt and Grayson Pawlenchuk was a consistent force through the first two periods, accounting for three goals and seven points.

“We had a few good practices together this week and we had a good weekend in Tri-City playing together,” said de Wit, who notched a short-handed penalty shot goal in the second period and assisted on a pair of goals from Pratt.

“We had a rough game against Spokane last weekend but today was awesome. We were gelling and getting in on the forecheck and that’s what you need, along with a strong work ethic.”

Sutter had words of praise for the trio and was also impressed with newcomer Brandon Hagel. The 17-year-old forward signed with the Rebels Thursday after opening the season with the Whitecourt Wolverines of the Alberta Junior League.

“For this being his first game of major junior hockey, he was real good here tonight,” said the Rebels bench boss. “There are little things in his game that we have to help him with, but you can he has a tremendous amount of skill and he plays the game the right way.

“For the most part, our effort was there tonight. We just have to stay with it and continue to get better.”

Reese Johnson and Josh Mahura, on a power-play blast from the point, also tallied for the Rebels, who led 3-0 after 20 minutes. Tyler Robertson notched Edmonton’s first goal after Red Deer had built a 4-0 lead.

Rylan Toth turned aside 26 shots in the Rebels net. Oil Kings starter Alec Dillon was beaten on four of 17 shots and Patrick Dea, who came on midway through the contest, blocked 10 of 11.

The Rebels play their final preseason contest tonight, taking on the Medicine Hat Tigers at Stettler. Game time is 7 p.m.

The Rebels will focus on turning in a solid 60-minute effort.

“I think our team just lost focus tonight,” said de Wit. “We came in after two periods and we were a little high on ourselves, but that’s something we can work on.”

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

President Joe Biden delivers remarks about COVID vaccinations in the South Court Auditorium at the White House, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Biden team moves swiftly to tackle pipeline political peril

Executive order issued to improve cybersecurity

Street racers gather the evening of Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, in the parking lot of the Goodwill on Northeast Marine Drive and 122nd Avenue in Portland, Ore. Across America, police are confronting illegal drag racing whose popularity has surged since the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns began. Drivers have blocked off roads to race and to etch donut patterns on pavement with the tires of their souped-up cars. From Portland, Oregon; to Albuquerque, New Mexico; from Nashville, Tennessee; to New York City, officials are reporting a dangerous, and sometimes deadly, uptick in street racing. (Anna Spoerre /The Oregonian via AP)
US cities see surge in deadly street racing amid pandemic

Shutdowns associated with the pandemic cleared normally clogged highways

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh listens to a question as he speaks with reporters on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Dozens have died after Palestinian militants launched rockets and Israel unleashed new air strikes

Monarch butterflies have declined more that 80 per cent over the last two decades and scientists are trying to find out why. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Study suggests neonic pesticides harming monarch butterfly eggs

Research published in the Journal of Animal Ecology

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore, center, celebrates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Crew with teammates from left, forward Tsubasa Endoh, defender Omar Gonzalez and forward Patrick Mullins during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Bradley, Altidore scores in Toronto FC’s 2-0 win over Crew

ORLANDO, Fla (AP) — Michael Bradley had a goal and an assist,… Continue reading

A football with the CFL logo sits on a chair during a press conference in Winnipeg, Friday, November 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Former defensive lineman Klassen tackling retirement as he did opposing quarterbacks

Klassen spent seven CFL seasons with Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa

FILE - Contestant Lauren Spencer-Smith on an episode of ABC’s American Idol. (American Idol/ABC photo)
‘American Idol’ contestant exits show amid video controversy

A 16-year-old “American Idol” contestant has dropped out of the singing competition… Continue reading

FILE - Ellen DeGeneres appears during a taping of the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” in Burbank, Calif. on May 24, 2016. DeGeneres, who has seen ratings hit after allegations of running a toxic workplace, has decided her upcoming season next year will be the last. It coincides with the end of her contract. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
Ellen DeGeneres to end long-running TV talk show next year

Viewership dropped by 1.1 million people this season

Ottawa Senators centre Josh Norris, right, celebrates his game-winning overtime goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with left wing Brady Tkachuk Wednesday May 12, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Norris scored winner, Senators beat Maple Leafs 4-3 in Andersen’s return from injury

Norris scored winner, Senators beat Maple Leafs 4-3 in Andersen’s return from injury

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, holds up the trophy after beating Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, in the final at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, in Montreal on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Tennis Canada could move top tournaments to US if Toronto, Montreal plan not approved

Tennis Canada could move top tournaments to US if Toronto, Montreal plan not approved

Philadelphia Flyers' Travis Sanheim (6) and Brian Elliott (37) celebrate with teammates after the Flyers won an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Puck luck? Hockey’s secrecy makes betting on NHL a gamble

Puck luck? Hockey’s secrecy makes betting on NHL a gamble

FILE - John Davidson, left, president of the New York Rangers, and Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton pose at a news conference in New York, in this Wednesday, May 22, 2019, file photo. The New York Rangers abruptly fired president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 with three games left in the season. Chris Drury was named president and GM. He previously served as associate GM under Davidson and Gorton. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
New York Rangers fire coach Dave Quinn, 3 assistants

New York Rangers fire coach Dave Quinn, 3 assistants

Most Read