Lane Zablocki is enjoying a coming out party with the Red Deer Rebels and it continued Saturday night in a 6-1 win over the Kootenay Ice at the Centrium.
The Wetaskiwin native had a goal and three assists to earn first star honours and has 26 points in 27 games since joining the Rebels from the Regina Pats at the trade deadline.
“He plays hard. He was active in a lot of different ways which he usually is,” Rebels GM/ head coach Brent Sutter said. “He has to play that thorn-type game and he did that tonight and he contributed on the offensive side.”
With back-to-back wins over the Ice in the home-and-home series, Red Deer picked up a crucial four points in the Central Division standings.
The two victories were made even more important because the Calgary Hitmen grabbed wins in their home-and-home with Lethbridge to remain within four points of the Rebels.
Red Deer went three for six on the power play Saturday night and Sutter added for about the last month the man-advantage has been good for his squad.
“Our power play for quite a few games now, maybe a month has been really good,” Sutter said.
“Our PK was good tonight too, we made some good kills at certain times. Obviously it was a big weekend, we needed to win these two games. You control your own destiny we just have to continue to win hockey games and see where it takes us.”
From start to finish the Rebels dominated the Ice, which was key after a slow start Friday night in Cranbrook.
Through the first five minutes Red Deer heavily out shot Kootenay, but the Ice got on the board with their first shot of the game.
Ethan Sakowich scored 36 seconds later for the Rebels with a slap shot from the point and that response was key according to Sutter.
“It was solid. After the first goal, we made a mistake in the neutral zone and they went in and capitalized on it,” Sutter said.
“It was important to get that quick goal shortly after and it got us going again, from that point on we did a pretty good job controlling the game.”
Evan Polei tipped in a Zablocki wrist shot for his team-leading 31st goal of the year and the eventual game winner at 14:45 of the first.
Brandon Hagel potted a rebound late in the frame and Austin Pratt added a tally 41 seconds after that.
Zablocki and Dawson Martin each added a goal in the second to round out the scoring.
Michael Spacek added an assist in the win and has 80 points in 56 games this year, including 10 in his last five games.
Austin Glover had three assists on the night and Zablocki said his line along with Polei was just able to get into good scoring areas on the night.
“Our whole line was moving our feet and we were cycling the puck well,” Zablocki said.
“Getting a lot of zone time which we haven’t necessarily got the past couple games so I think that’s key for our line. We did the little things and we were rewarded for it.”
Red Deer will play four times next week, with the first game coming on Tuesday night in Medicine Hat.