Like a well-oiled machine, the Red Deer Rebels kept their wheels spinning Friday night.
And it couldn’t have happened at a better time as Central Alberta’s team swept the season series against the Edmonton Oil Kings in a 4-1 blowout to win all nine matchups.
Forward Jhett Larson said they wanted to show the Oil Kings they made a mistake last year knocking them out of the playoffs.
“We wanted to rub it in their face by sweeping them,” he explained.
The Rebels dominated and carried the play in the first period outshooting the Oil Kings 18-6.
Forward Jace Isley notched the lone goal of the period when he knocked in the rebound after Craig Armstrong fired a shot on net.
It was a different story at the beginning of the second period as Edmonton came out swinging.
After a couple of scoring opportunities, the Oil Kings got on the board off the stick of Loick Daigle who potted the equalizer just over three and a half minutes into the frame.
The Rebels picked up the pace later in the frame but were unable to score in the second frame. Tempers boiled over in the final seconds when Armstrong dropped the gloves with Rhett Melnyk. Armstrong received a two-minute minor penalty for instigating followed by a 10-minute game misconduct and was ejected from the game.
“Armstrong really got us fired up with that fight and it kind of gave us new life. We worked from there,” Larson added.
Head coach Steve Konowalchuk said his team played well in the first period but did not play their best in the middle frame.
“The second period we found ourselves in a hockey game and we didn’t play the way we needed to and it’s a tight game… You’re not always going to have great periods and in the third period we’re going out there shorthanded and that was a big [penalty] kill,” Konowalchuk said.
Despite not their best effort, the Rebels came out fast right out of the gate in the third period.
Larson fired one into the back of the net on the penalty kill during a two-one-one rush off a nifty pass from Ollie Josephson. Approximately two minutes after that, knocked in the loose puck to make it 3-1 after Kai Uchacz’s shot trickled past the goaltender.
In the final minute, Edmonton pulled the goalie for the extra attacker but defenceman Jace Weir potted his first goal of the season into the empty net to take a 4-1 lead.
“Our guys in the first part of that third period buckled down again, got the lead and at the end of the third I thought we were trying to get a little too cute at times,” he said.
“Overall, it’s never easy. There are always some good things in the game and always some things you want to improve on and learn. If you want to have more success you’ve got to do the extra hard work all game, all the little things then you have the puck more.”
Goaltender Rhett Stoesser was solid in net for the Rebels with 34 saves.
Next up, the Rebels will head to Lethbridge on Saturday to take on the Hurricanes at 7 p.m.