Rebels 3 Chiefs 2
The Red Deer Rebels were pretty much stretched to the limit on Saturday, and although they bent, they didn’t break.
The Rebels were outshot 36-23 by the visiting Spokane Chiefs before an announced gathering of 4,904 at the Centrium, but got a 34-save performance from Darcy Kuemper and a third-period goal from Nathan Green to pull out a 3-2 Western Hockey League win.
“It’s a big two points for us. Points are huge, it’s pretty tight in our conference. That was a big win for us,” said Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin, whose club improved to 12-12-0-0 and moved into third place in the Central Division.
“It was a gritty effort. Late in the hockey game we had some guys who really paid the price with some blocked shots, and (Kuemper) stood tall for us.”
The Rebels struck first when Adam Kambeitz took a behind-the-net pass from Jordie Deagle and beat Chiefs netminder Michael Tadjdeh with a high backhand six minutes into the game. The visitors responded six minutes later when Tyler Johnson potted his 10th of the season, but the Rebels regained their advantage on Landon Ferraro’s third goal of the season with 23 seconds remaining in the period, with Willie Coetzee’s quick shot from the left faceoff circle glancing of Ferraro and past Tadjdeh.
Following a scoreless second frame, the Chiefs pulled even on Johnson’s second marker of the evening, a power-play effort at 5:11 of the third period, but Green fired the winner four minutes later. Josh Cowen made the play that led to the decisive marker when he kept the puck inside the Spokane blueline with a diving effort and shovelled it over to Andrej Kudrna, who in turn fed Green.
The Rebels got big-time efforts from several bodies, including Deagle, who moved back the blueline when defenceman Justin Weller left the game in the first period with an undetermined injury.
“Weller took a hit behind the net early in the game but we kind of stayed with five defencemen through the rest of the period,” said Wallin. “But (the Chiefs) have a lot of speed up front and we just felt that maybe it was a bit much for the five guys we had back there, so we put ‘Deags’ on the back end and he did a good job.”
The game also marked the Rebels debut of Lane Scheidl, who was acquired from the Vancouver Giants earlier in the day in exchange for fellow 17-year-old forward Connor Redmond.
Redmond, the Rebels’ first-round pick — 11th overall — in the 2007 WHL bantam draft, never panned out in Red Deer and was on the trading block for several weeks prior to Saturday’s transaction.
“It was a situation where Connor wasn’t playing much for us. He was in and out of our lineup and was kind of our 13th or 14th forward and he wasn’t really happy with that,” said Wallin. “It was at the point where we were going to send him to a junior A team, but we felt that with 22 bodies on our roster we were hoping we could trade him and get something back.
“Connor was a first-round draft pick and we had to get some value back for him and we felt we got that in Lane Scheidl.”
Scheidl, a five-foot-11, 192-pound winger, had two goals and five points in 22 games with the Giants this season after racking up 22 goals and 44 points in 39 games with his Saskatoon midget AAA team last winter.
“He’s a real promising guy and put up some good numbers in his midget league last year. We think he can be a real good player for us,” said Wallin.
The Rebels travel to Medicine Hat today for a 6 p.m. meeting with the Tigers.