Rebels 6 Hurricanes 1
After putting up three assists in the Red Deer Rebels’ preseason finale, defenceman Jace Weir says the team is prepared for the Western Hockey League regular season.
Red Deer defeated the Lethbridge Hurricanes 6-1 in the Rebels’ final preseason game at the Peavey Mart Centrium Saturday night.
“I feel we got better every (preseason) game and we took little steps every single game,” Weir said.
“I think we’re ready for the regular season.”
The Rebels opened the scoring 9:46 into the second period when Kai Uchacz fired the puck off the post and in. Kalan Lind recorded the lone assist on the goal.
Uchacz skated in on the right side of the Hurricanes zone and put a shot on net just a few minutes later, but was stopped by the glove hand of Hurricanes’ goaltender Bryan Thomson. Blake Stevenson gathered the puck behind the net and centred it to Arshdeep Bains, who shovelled it into the cage 12:15 into the second to double Red Deer’s lead.
Less than a minute later, Bains passed the puck to defenceman Christoffer Sedoff as he snuck in from the blue line while the Rebels were on a four-on-three power play. Sedoff ripped a shot into the top corner, putting Red Deer up by three. Weir had the secondary assist on the goal.
Stevenson scored Red Deer’s second power play goal just two minutes later when he banged in a rebound off of a Weir point shot.
Jhett Larson continued the scoring barrage for Red Deer 57 seconds into the third period, after a wrist shot from far out hit the tip of Thomson’s glove and floated in. That was the end of the Lethbridge goalie’s night – he was pulled after allowing five goals on 30 shots and was replaced by Jared Picklyk.
Red Deer forward Talon Brigley made it 6-0 for Red Deer 7:12 into the third, just as a Rebels power play expired. Larson shot the puck wide and it bounced off of the boards behind the net right to Brigley, who flipped it past Picklyk. Weir recorded his third assist of the game on the goal.
Lethbridge’s Noah Boyko broke Red Deer Rebels goaltender Chase Coward’s shutout bid with just under four minutes remaining in the game by knocking a loose puck into the net. Coward finished the game with 26 saves on 27 shots.
Red Deer finished with two power play goals on the night.
“I felt like we were clicking. The power play for sure was clicking,” said Weir, who had assists on both power play tallies.
Steve Konowalchuk, Rebels head coach, said it was nice to end the preseason on a high note.
“Our guys came out and played the right way,” he said, adding he’s happy with training camp as a whole.
“The team as a whole improved, they’re building some chemistry and they played real hard for each other tonight.
“I’m happy with that game. We’ll keep improving, we’ll get back to work. You always want to end on a good note, but there are always things you want to correct as well.”
A few Rebels who have been away at National Hockey League training camps, including captain Jayden Grubbe, have returned to Red Deer for the start of the 2021-22 WHL season.
The Red Deer Rebels will kick off the regular season Oct. 1 against the Edmonton Oil Kings in Edmonton. The Rebels home opener is Oct. 2 at the Peavey Mart Centrium.