Red Deer Rebels associate coach Jeff Truitt explaining a drill to players during Tuesday afternoon’s pratice at the ENMAX Centrium. Truitt said the powerplay is a major reason for the team’s 2-0 start to the 2017-18 season. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

WATCH: Hot power play leading the way for Rebels

The Red Deer Rebels’ 50 per cent power play is leading the way early in the season.

Red Deer is 2-0 to start the year and has the second best power play percentage in the WHL – scoring on five of 10 chances.

“The power play needs to be a big part this year – last year it wasn’t the best,” said team captain Grayson Pawlenchuk, who leads the squad with three points on the man advantage. “We’ve been working on it quite a bit already and … it’s nice to see it’s doing well so far.”

Pawlenchuk said there’s room to improve, despite the team scoring on half of its power play chances.

“On the power play I think we can be a lot better,” he said. “A couple of the goals went in off bounces or on breakouts. We didn’t really get too much set up.”

Getting these wins early in the season boosts the team’s confidence, Pawlenchuk added.

“It’s pretty big for the team to get the two wins and start rolling from there. It’s definitely huge for the team to get the season off on the right note,” he said.

Jeff Truitt, Rebels associate coach, said improving the power play was one of many focuses going into the season.

“We like the foundation of the power play now – where they’re starting, moving puck, getting shots through and having traffic at the net,” Truitt said.

The players the team calls on with the man advantage have been performing very well, said Truitt.

“You need to have guys who buy in and do the things you need them to do and they are buying in right now,” he said. “With power play it’s all about pace, knowing where people are, puck movement and reacting right away.”

Red Deer worked on its power play, as well as other aspects of the game, during Tuesday’s practice at the ENMAX Centrium. But it’s important the team doesn’t mess too much with its success, Truitt said.

“To start off well is good and I hope we maintain that,” said Truitt. “You just want guys getting into a good rhythm, getting familiar with where they have to be, the roles they are in and what they have to do.”

Red Deer is in action Friday when the team visits Moose Jaw to battle the Warriors. The next home game for the Rebels is Oct. 7 against the Brandon Wheat Kings.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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