Rebels top line explodes in 6-2 win over Victoria Royals

The Red Deer Rebels top line blew the doors off the Centrium on Saturday night.

Lane Zablocki had a hat trick, Brandon Hagel had six points and Michael Spacek added five assists to combine for 15 points in a 6-2 win over the Victoria Royals.

“If they are moving their feet – they all have skill and if they play the right way and do things the right way and play the game with tempo and with pace and be responsible… they can make plays,” Rebels GM and head coach Brent Sutter said.

“That line was really good, they scored some important, timely goals for us. All three of them created for us. It was a big night for them.”

Each of Zablocki’s goals on the night came from no further than a foot outside the crease and with 15 goals on the year along with six in seven games since joining the Rebels.

He said playing alongside two NHL drafted forwards in Spacek in Hagel makes his life a little bit easier too.

“It’s unbelievable. Those are two really, highly skilled guys so when you get an opportunity like that you just try to go to the net and get open for them and good things will happen,” Zablocki said.

The 18-year-old opened the scoring for Red Deer 3:56 into the game after a point shot hit Hagel and bounced his way. After Victoria tied the game 1:04, Hagel got the lead back for the Rebels on the power play at 13:28 when Spacek found him for a one-timer in the slot.

Red Deer finished the night two for six on the man advantage and killed all three penalties.

“I thought it was pretty solid from start to finish,” said Sutter.

“In our five-on-five play there was urgency, we played hard. Our specialty teams, there was more emotion and intensity on them. I liked our puck movement, we did a better job generating things off our PP. I thought our PK did a good job, outside the one blocked shot, where they got the breakaway and scored. Five-on-five we were a good team tonight.”

Zablocki scored the only goal of the second period on a beautiful cycle where Spacek found Hagel in the middle of the ice, and Hagel slipped a gorgeous pass down low to his right winger.

Adam Musil added his 17th of the season to open up a 4-2 Rebels lead in the third period, and Zablocki scored his hat trick goal 50 seconds later. Hagel put the cherry on top with his second goal of the night and sixth point with just under five minutes remaining.

The goal was also Hagel’s 20th of the year to tie him for the team lead with Spacek and Evan Polei. Hagel has had multiple four-point games in his WHL career, but Saturday was his first ever six point night.

The five-point game for Spacek was also the first time he had done it in his WHL career.

The win was a stark contrast from the Rebels sub-par performance in their first of a five-game homestand Friday night against Prince Albert.

Next up for the Rebels is a home date with the Prince George Cougars on Jan. 27.

byron.hackett@bprda.wpengine.com

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