Rebels 3 Raiders 0
The Red Deer Rebels continued their dominance Saturday night with a 3-0 shutout over the Prince Albert Raiders in another step forward on their historic run.
Red Deer is now 10-0 this season and it was also a career night for Rebels goaltender Rhett Stoesser who got his first WHL shutout in his second game between the pipes.
Despite making 23 saves in the game, the Carstairs, Alta. native didn’t take much credit in the victory.
“The boys made it pretty easy on me today so I got to give thanks to them. I made one good stop all game,” Stoesser said. “It’s a pretty cool experience. [There were] a lot of fans.”
This was his first start since the home opener on Sept. 24 where he got the win against the defending champion Edmonton Oil Kings.
“It was a long break but the Rebels staff really helped me the last month or so. Really get into the speed and pace of the WHL so it all goes out to them,” he added. “I was a little bit nervous going into the game but you know, whatever happens, you just got to go with it and see how it goes. I got more comfortable as the game went on that’s for sure.”
The Rebels opened the scoring off a rocket from captain Jayden Grubbe on the powerplay for his team-leading 13th point of the season.
That was the lone goal of the period before heading into the middle frame. Just a few minutes into the period Ben King was hit awkwardly into the boards and left the game with what appeared to be an injury to his left leg. He would need help off the ice and did not return to the game.
At the five-minute mark forward Jace Isley extended the Rebels’ lead 2-0 when he hammered in a rebound off an Ollie Josephson shot.
Four minutes later Jhett Larson fired home a slap shot on the powerplay from the top of the circle off a massive rebound that erupted the Centrium crowd.
Shortly after defenceman Christoffer Sedoff made a fantastic effort to prevent a Raiders goal by blocking a pass on a two-on-one rush.
What is normally a heavily offensive third period for the Rebels turned into a scrappy, defensive battle where both teams were held scoreless.
The Rebels also had an elite game on special teams. On the powerplay, they scored three times on six opportunities, while the Raiders were scoreless on six opportunities.
Head coach Steve Konowalchuk said the Raiders could have gotten back in the game with how many penalties his team had but shutting the door on those opportunities was vital.
“Different guys stepped up again and great job by Stoesser in net. It’s hard when you don’t play for a long time but Kelsey was doing good so we were riding him there for a bit. Stoesser was ready so what a great game by him,” Konowalchuk said.
“He didn’t seem nervous for missing that much time. It can be a little bit harder pucks can bounce off you but he was good.”
Konowalchuk gave the defence credit and was happy with his team putting their bodies on the line by blocking shots.
“It just shows the character. Our team has a lot of character and a lot of heart. I’m always proud of how hard they battle when the game’s on the line,” he added.
The Rebels will play at home again on Wednesday when they welcome the Victoria Royals to the Peavey Mart Centrium at 7 p.m.