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Red Deer Rebels drop preseason game to Edmonton Oil Kings

Oil Kings 4 Rebels 3
Red Deer Rebels forward holds onto the puck as Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman Parker Alcos pressures him during preseason Western Hockey League action at the Peavey Mart Centrium on Sunday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Oil Kings 4 Rebels 3

The new head coach of the Red Deer Rebels wasn’t too impressed by the effort shown by some of his players in the team’s first home game of the 2023 WHL preseason.

The Red Deer Rebels fell to the Edmonton Oil Kings 4-3 in Western Hockey League action at the Peavey Mart Centrium on Sunday afternoon.

“We waited until the end to play with some urgency and pace,” said head coach Derrick Walser.

“I thought we had an OK first (period). I thought Edmonton did a pretty good job … they stuck to their game plan better than us.”

Defenceman Quentin Bourne continued his hot start to the preseason by tallying Red Deer’s first goal of the game. Bourne kept the puck in the zone, skated along the blue line and fired low wrist shot on net – the shot deflected off Oil Kings defenceman Jacob Hoffrogge and past goalie Logan Cunningham.

Bourne picked up a goal and assist in the Rebels’ first game of the preseason, which was a 5-4 overtime win over the Hitmen in Calgary.

Oil Kings forward Marshall Finnie tied the game at one later in the period. The Rebels won a faceoff right back to goaltender Kyle Kelsey. The netminder kicked out his pad to keep the puck out, but Finnie knocked in a rebound.

Dwayne Jean Jr., who also came into Sunday’s game with a goal and assist in the preseason opener, put Red Deer back up with a couple minutes left in the opening frame. He snagged the puck from a puck battle along the boards, skated into the slot and wired a shot into the net.

Cole Miller scored for the Oil Kings in the second period to tie the game at two. With about five minutes left in the middle frame, Oil Kings forward Mason Finley scored a shorthanded marker to put his team up.

Miller scored one more before the period ended, blasting a one-timer over the shoulder of Rebels goaltender Chase Wutzke during an Oil Kings power play.

The Rebels had a few chances to get back into the game during the third period. Jean Jr. cranked a shot off the post with about eight minutes left, but the puck stayed out of the net. With about five minutes left, Jhett Larson slid a spinning shot on a shorthanded rush just wide of the net.

Larson did manage to bring the Rebels within one with two minutes left on the clock. Despite a furious last-minute push, the Rebels couldn’t find the back of the net again, as the Oil Kings went on win 4-3.

Walser said he felt some of the Rebels’ veteran players underestimated the Oil Kings coming into the game. (Edmonton finished last in the WHL last season.)

“That’s the first thing I addressed in the room. Anyone can beat anyone on any given night. To play in the National Hockey League, you can’t take nights off and some of our guys did tonight,” he said.

Red Deer will play host to the Hitmen at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15 at the Peavey Mart Centrium. The Rebels will then wrap up the preseason with a rematch against the Oil Kings in Edmonton the following day.

The 2023-24 regular season begins on Sept. 22 when the Rebels host the Oil Kings.

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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