Rebels 8 Hitmen 1
The goals came in bunches Friday night for the Red Deer Rebels.
Red Deer made it look easy at times with seven unanswered goals and eight total in an 8-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen at the Saddledome in front of 3,503 fans.
That included a banner game for 20-year-old Rebels forward Arshdeep Bains, who notched his first career WHL hat trick before the second period was even over and finished the contest with four points.
Veteran Liam Keeler had a pair of goals, while Blake Stevenson and defenceman Christoffer Sedoff each tallying a goal and two assists in the blowout win.
“When you score goals it definitely helps your confidence. Other games we’ve had chances and we haven’t been able to score. It definitely helps a goal scorer relax. The important thing is you always play the way that gets you the chances,” said Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk.
“For guys to be able to get a couple of points and feel good about themselves, at any level that helps.”
Bains got the party started with a wrist shot off the rush just 91 seconds into the game that beat Brayden Peters glove side.
After Calgary tied it on the power play midway through the first, Red Deer turned on the afterburners and didn’t look back.
Red Deer scored seven straight from there, as Bains tallied again off the rush on a beautiful feed from Ben King and Kai Uchacz tipped a Sedoff point shot home late in the first.
In the second, Stevenson opened up a 4-1 lead, before Bains rounded out the hat trick on the power play at 6:29.
“It was a good game, those guys stepped up and we lean on them to produce for us some games, they did their job,” Konowalchuk said of Bains, King and linemate Jhett Larson.
Keeler notched his first as a Rebel just past the midway point of the second and added his second of the game less than a minute into the third.
Sedoff also scored his first WHL goal since February 28, 2020, late in the second, finishing off a nice passing play with Grubbe.
Despite the near-perfect effort on offence, the Rebels took eight minor penalties in the game.
Red Deer managed to excel on special teams, killing off seven of eight Hitmen power plays and scoring twice on five of their own man-advantage opportunities.
“It was a good effort. I thought our both special teams had some key moments. Our first couple power plays we were able to capitalize, that’s a big part of the game,” Konowalchuk said.
“(Calgary) in the second period had a couple power plays and and a four-on-three, but we were able to get through that with a couple good kills and good saves. That was big for us.”
Connor Ungar picked up his first win as a Rebel, turning aside 32 shots in the victory.
The Rebels and Hitmen are back at it on Saturday afternoon at the Peavey Mart Centrium. The game will be broadcast on CBC, with puck drop set for 1 p.m.