The Red Deer Rebels tied the Western Hockey League record for 12 consecutive wins to begin the season after a dominant 4-0 win at the Peavey Mart Centrium against the Vancouver Giants.
Head coach Steve Konowalchuk liked his team’s perseverance once again and thought they came ready to play.
“It was a really good first period of skating and doing things we needed to. It was a tight game still after a pretty good first period. It’s one of those games you have to stick with mentally to keep playing the right way. I thought our guys kept playing with some pace, some energy, and for the most part the right game plan and eventually got rewarded.”
Forward Jhett Larson had the game’s first goal for the Rebels when he forced himself in front of the net and stick-handled around the Giants goaltender and tucked it in. That was Larson’s eighth goal of the campaign and just last season in Red Deer he had just 11 total goals.
That would be the lone goal of the opening frame and in the second period, both teams weren’t able to score for the first 10 minutes. However, just over midway through forward Kalan Lind and Damian Palmieri dropped the gloves to ignite their teams.
The Giants thought they scored shortly after but would be reviewed by the officiating crew and ruled a no-goal due to goaltender interference.
That wasn’t the end of the physical play as with approximately four minutes left in the period defenceman Matteo Fabrizi steamrolled a Giants forward along the boards. Giants forward Sammy May stepped in defence of his teammate and Fabrizi indulged as the two traded punches.
This in turn lit a fire under the Rebels as Talon Brigley crashed the net with plenty of bodies out front to score and put the Rebels up 2-0. That was his second goal of the year.
In the third period forward Jace Isley fired his seventh of the year off the one-timer at the top of the circle off a pass from Brigley.
Two minutes later, Brigley got his third point and second assist of the evening after he sprung forward Kai Uchacz on a breakaway during a penalty kill. Uchacz made no mistake and placed a wrist shot in the top left corner for his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
The Rebels played a good defensive game and only allowed the Giants to accumulate 18 shots on goal to their 33.
“Obviously we’ve got good defencemen but there are so many things. It’s managing the puck, it is working hard without the puck, it’s checking, it’s backchecking, and it’s all the little things that help you not give up shots… Our guys are working hard in those areas and taking pride in it,” he added.
Goaltender Rhett Stoesser made 18 saves and got his second career WHL shutout in his third consecutive start in net. Stoesser has played four games as a rookie this season.
Red Deer native Talon Brigley said tying the WHL record for consecutive wins was in the back of their mind but ultimately just stuck to their game.
“We want to see how far we can take it. We’re not done yet I think we want to keep going until someone can step up on us and take us down,” he said.
Brigley said the second and third periods were their best as a team Friday night. That also happened to be when Brigley capitalized on all three of his points. Brigley said it’s nice to play alongside Jayden Grubbe and Jace Isley.
“They do a lot of the work for me. Two big guys working down low in the corner so all the props to them and they were getting me the puck all night,” he added.
Next up for the Rebels is a game in Edmonton Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. to begin a long slate of games on the road. They play nine consecutive games away from Red Deer until they return to the Centrium on Nov. 19 against Brandon.