The Red Deer Rebels’ 3-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen couldn’t have come at a better time.
Prior to Friday night’s game in Calgary, the Rebels were losers of five of their last six games.
The Rebels were outshot by their opponents 40-30 but two big goals from forward Carson Latimer put Red Deer on top.
The first came on the powerplay midway through the first period when Latimer redirected a Mats Lindgren point shot.
The 20-year-old forward followed that up with a shorthanded goal less than 40 seconds into the second period.
Hitmen goaltender Ethan Buenaventura came out of his net and misplayed the puck. Latimer took advantage and fired it into the wide-open net.
Red Deer later sealed the seal on an empty net goal from Talon Brigley with 11 seconds left in the third period.
Head coach Derrick Walser said he really liked how his team played in the first period but felt they got disorganized in the second.
“In the third, I thought we found our composure and we looked very comfortable holding that 2-0 lead,” he said.
Special teams were also a strong suit for the Rebels who scored on one of two powerplay opportunities. On the defensive end, they stopped the Hitmen from scoring on the man advantage three times.
Rebels goaltender Rhett Stoesser had arguably one of his best games of the season making 40 saves and recording a shutout.
Stoesser made plenty of big stopd throughout the game including a flash of th glove while falling down on a Hitmen powerplay in the first period.
“He was excellent tonight and I thought we did a much better job getting in the shooting lanes,” he said. “We did a good job boxing out so Rhett could see and track the puck well tonight.
“He was the first star of the game and it was well deserved. He’s a key piece for us to get out of this.”
The Rebels will return home for a rematch with the Hitmen on Saturday night at the Peavey Mart Centrium at 7 p.m.
“It’s hard to win when you play teams back to back so we’re just going to get home and reset. That’s the main message we told the guys. Good job on the win but let’s reset and get our mindset ready for tomorrow.”