Rebels 4 Hurricanes 3
LETHBRIDGE — The Red Deer Rebels followed their own orders Friday night.
“It’s a huge two points. We came in here with the mentality that it was a must win,” said Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin, following his club’s 4-3 Western Hockey League victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes before 3,958 fans at the Enmax Centre.
The Rebels triumphed despite a lack of production from the likes of tops guns Willie Coetzee, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Andrej Kudrna.
Instead, Adam Kambeitz sniped his third and fourth goals of the season, Turner Elson notched his second and Brett Ferguson, with his eighth, potted the winner.
“No question, we had some guys step up and we got some secondary scoring from some of the grinders,” said Wallin.
“We need that from them and we had some guys really play well tonight.
“‘Kamby’ (Kambeitz) made a mistake on the first goal for Lethbridge. He was upset about that and responded the right way and got after it. Turner Elson also played well and I thought Daulton Siwak played his best game of the year tonight, and not just because he got a point (an assist on Elson’s goal).
“He was really skating tonight and was physical. He did a good job along the boards in his own end of the rink and just played a solid two-way game.”
Rebels netminder Darcy Kuemper also came up big early in the game and finished with 19 saves, four more than Hurricanes’ goaltender Brandon Anderson.
“Lethbridge had a couple of good opportunities early in the game, but overall there weren’t a lot of chances either way,” said Wallin. “It was a real tight-checking game.”
The Hurricanes struck first with a power-play goal from Sundre native Austin Fyten, but Kambeitz replied for the Rebels before the end of the first period.
Kambeitz notched the lone goal of the middle frame, before the ‘Canes pulled even with a third-period tally from defenceman Mike Reddington.
From there, Elson, on the power play, gave the Rebels a 3-2 lead at 6:42 of the third period, Mitch Maxwell made it 3-3 at 9:26 and Brett Ferguson sniped the winner just under two minutes later.
“It was a pretty solid effort and now we need to respond again tomorrow,” said Wallin, referring to tonight’s 7:30 p.m. meeting with the visiting Saskatoon Blades. “The message this week has been about mental toughness and accountability, and we want to take that next step and string some wins together.
“We can’t take a period off or even a shift off, we have to be consistent with our approach. We have to be prepared to go to work for 60 minutes.”
The Rebels stayed overnight in Lethbridge due to adverse road conditions.
“It took us five and a half hours to get to Lethbridge today. We fought the elements on the way down and it was worth getting here for the two points,” said Wallin. “But we decided that we’re not taking the challenge tonight.”