Rebels 4 Pats 2
As the great Elton John once said Saturday night’s alright for fighting.
It was an emotional and physical night at the Peavey Mart Centrium as a matchup between the Red Deer Rebels and the Regina Pats ended in fisticuffs in front of an excited home crowd.
After a Rebels player was hit into the boards as time expired in the third period that led to multiple players getting involved in a scuffle, which included some even dropping the gloves.
Head coach Steve Konowalchuk said his team stuck up for each other at the end of the game.
“Kind of a senseless hit by their guy on our guy but that’s hockey. Our guys stuck up for one another on the ice the way a team should,” he said.
The Rebels got the upper hand and took home the victory 4-2 in the lone weekend game for central Alberta’s team.
Not only was it physical, but also fast-paced with plenty of speed on both sides.
“Junior hockey is entertaining hockey. Sometimes too many unpredictable things happen out there but anyway fast-paced, I thought they played hard our guys played hard right from the start. Both teams battled and obviously, they got some skill their that you got to be aware of but our guys stuck with it,” he said adding the Rebels blocked shots when they needed it.
The Rebels opened up the scoring in the first period on a two-on-one opportunity by Kai Uchacz who fired it in through the five-hole.
Just a few minutes later Rebels goaltender Kyle Kelsey made the first of many big saves out front by projected first overall selection in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft Connor Bedard, who the Rebels managed to hold to just an assist.
Holding Bedard to just one assist is an accomplishment in itself.
“Oh for sure, I mean he’s going to get chances and he’s out on their on the ice an awful lot and then when you give him powerplays that even makes it harder,” he said.
The assist came in the second period when the Pats tied the game 1-1 scored by Easton Armstrong.
In the final frame, Uchacz came up clutch with his second tally of the game as he fired it top shelf with plenty of bodies in front of the net.
Kelsey continued his impressive night closing the door on plenty of quality scoring chances by the Pats before Borya Valis tied the game for a second time.
However, the Pats momentum was short-lived when Rebels forward Carter Anderson restored Red Deer’s lead less than 30 seconds later.
“We did a better job in the third getting pucks to the net and we had a little offensive zone time the first two periods but we weren’t shooting. All of a sudden in the third we got pucks to the net and got a couple bounces but that’s what happens,” he said.
“Give Anderson credit you know started on the fourth line but he was playing so didn’t pout about anything goes out and plays. It was a really good team effort.”
Kelsey stood tall for the Rebels in net making 33 saves, 14 of those in the third period.
“Kelsey played a strong game. Timely saves were real good he was solid for us… should build more and more confidence with his game,” Konowalchuk said.
Uchacz was named the game’s first star after his two-goal performance and Konowalchuk gave him credit because his line was up against Bedard and his linemates for much of the evening.
“We were excited to play we only had one game this weekend so all of us came ready to play and it was a good team effort start to finish and we got it done at the end,” Uchacz said. “We came out after second intermission knowing we had to close this one out and we wanted to win so we came out hard and we played well.”
“They gave us all they got and yeah they were fast. They were playing both sides of the ice pretty well so give them credit for a good game.”
The Rebels play two home games next weekend on Friday and Saturday. At 7 p.m. Friday night the Rebels take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes followed by the Calgary Hitmen Saturday at 7 p.m.