Rebels 5 Oil Kings 0
Red Deer Rebels No. 2 goaltender Kraymer Barnstable, who had one of the best views in the house, was impressed.
“Our team played amazing, it was a true testament to how we’ve been playing lately,” said the 19-year-old following the Rebels’ 5-0 Western Hockey League win over the Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday before a recorded crowd of 4,692 at the Centrium.
“Even in the third period we got pucks deep and made sure we played it safe. It was just an all-around, well-played game by us.”
The Oil Kings carried the play early, but couldn’t cash in, and the Rebels, once they found their stride, basically put the game away in the opening frame. Willie Coetzee found the back of the net at 11:07, Landon Ferraro converted a feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on a power play seven minutes later and Nick Bell, with his first WHL goal, connected in the final minute of the period, his power-play point shot beating a screened Edmonton goalie Torrie Jung.
“The first 10 minutes of the game we were a little precarious. It wasn’t quite the start that we wanted,” said Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin. “But we recovered from that and got going in the last 10 minutes of the period and got a couple of huge goals.”
Turner Elson upped the count to 4-0 with a short-handed marker six minutes into the second period, catching Jung moving the wrong way while unleashing a shot to the far corner from the high slot, and Coetzee closed out the scoring with the a 30-foot blast with the Rebels enjoying a two-man advantage late in the middle frame.
“Our power play clicked for us tonight, our penalty killers did a good job and getting the lead was huge,” said Wallin. “We were able to sustain that and as the game went on we got better.
“The first 10 to 15 minutes of the third period we had some really solid shifts in their zone and did a good job on the forecheck. We did a good job of shutting them down as they are coming back. It was a real solid effort on our part. Our power play was clicking. The execution was there and we buried our opportunities.”
The Rebels remained in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and with 60 points are a single point ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, three up on the Prince Albert Raiders and five ahead of the Swift Current Broncos, who fell 7-4 to the visiting Saskatoon Blades Saturday. Meanwhile, the Warriors knocked off the visiting Regina Pats 4-1 and the Raiders were 5-1 winners over the Hurricanes at Lethbridge.
“A few guys on our team have been around a few years and haven’t seen the playoffs,” said Barnstable, who made 26 saves. “They’re getting excited and they don’t want to miss out on that opportunity.
“Our goal is to get 40 wins and get fourth place (in the Eastern Conference) and that’s still reachable. Every time we think about that gets us excited and we’re playing very well right now.”
The Rebels will head east Monday and will face the Regina Pats Tuesday, will be in Brandon 24 hours later, and will conclude their four-game jaunt with games Friday and Saturday in Moose Jaw and Swift Current.