Rebels 2 Ice 1 (OT)
CRANBROOK, B.C. — If there was anything wrong with the Red Deer Rebels’ game against the Kootenay Ice was that they were trying to be to perfect.
“We played very well, we generated a lot and overall is was a good team effort,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter, following a 2-1 overtime Western Hockey League victory over the Ice Saturday.
“At the same time if there was anything we can be criticized on it was that at times we tried to be too pretty. We’d have an opportunity on goal and try to make the perfect play and pass up a good shot.
“Still our puck possession was good.”
The Rebels finished with 37 shots on goal, compared to 21 for the Ice. The first period saw the Rebels control the play, but only held an 8-7 edge in shots. They outshot their hosts 13-8 in the second period and 12-3 in the third and if not for goaltender Payton Lee would have never needed overtime.
“He played well and kept them in it,” said Sutter, who also praised his netminder, Riley Lamb.
“Lamber responded well after not having his best game on Friday (a 6-4 win over Moose Jaw at the Centrium). That was a positive sign. I wanted to see how he would react playing the next day after not playing his best. He was solid. It was the second straight weekend he responded the second game after a tough game.”
Evan Polei put the Rebels on the board at 5:50 of the second period with Keenan Tapborn tying it at 9:58.
Veteran blueliner Colton Bobyk, who has one of the best shots in the WHL, scored the winner with a bullet from the right point at 4:43 of the five-minute extra period.
“He definitely has one of the best shots in the league,” said Sutter. “We need him to be one of our leaders, not only providing some offence, but leading on the defence and playing the right way.”
At times last season Bobyk would spent too much time in the penalty box. No so this season.
“He’s shown a lot more maturity,” said Sutter. “That’s what we need from him. He has to lead us on the back end and to control his emotions.”
Sutter indicated he was also pleased with the Rebels’ special teams, going one-for-four on the power play and killing off all six penalties.
The win leaves the Rebels with a 5-3-1-1 record, the same as the Lethbridge Hurricanes, one point back of the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3-1-0.
The Rebels host the Calgary Hitmen Friday and the Prince Albert Raiders Saturday. Both games are at 7 p.m. at the Centrium.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca