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KELOWNA — The Red Deer Rebels were the better team through the final two periods of Wednesday’s WHL game versus the host Kelowna Rockets. Unfortunately for the visitors, they were dominated in the opening frame and the bad start proved costly as the Rockets struck for four unanswered goals and then hung on for a 4-3 victory before a crowd of 4,621 at Prospera Place.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes created some hefty winds through 40 minutes Saturday at the Enmax Centrium, but were reduced to a breeze in the third period. Scott Feser potted a pair of late goals as the Red Deer Rebels pulled away from the visitors en route to a 5-2 Western Hockey League win before a recorded crowd of 5,157. The win came just 24 hours after the Rebels fell 5-1 to the visiting Calgary Hitmen and lost five players to injury in the process.
It was ‘80s night Friday at the Centrium and the Red Deer Rebels were hoping their WHL meeting with the Calgary Hitmen would be a throwback to the last time the clubs met. The Rebels downed the visiting Hitmen 3-2 Dec. 27, but they didn’t get a repeat this time, falling 5-1 in front of a recorded gathering of 6,141.
Not only was Rhyse Dieno back to producing at a point-per-game pace or better when he went down with a leg laceration two weeks ago, he had rediscovered another part of his game. “The point production was up, but I also think my all-around game was better,” said the 20-year-old Red Deer Rebels forward, who will return to the lineup tonight for a 7 p.m. Western Hockey League meeting with the Calgary Hitmen at the Enmax Centrium.
CALGARY — In what amounted to a showcase of skills in front of a flock of NHL scouts and general managers Wednesday, defenceman Haydn Fleury and forward Conner Bleackley admitted they were somewhat anxious. But in the end, the Red Deer Rebels players were satisfied with their respective performances in the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game viewed by 11,631 fans at the Saddledome.
To suggest that Aspen Sterzer made a great first impression with his new club would be an obvious understatement. The newest member of the Red Deer Rebels joined the team last Friday in Moose Jaw — just 24 hours after being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers — and made an immediate impact with a goal and two helpers in a 4-3 WHL victory over the Warriors. One night later, he scored again in a 3-0 victory at Swift Current.
Red Deer Rebels defenceman Haydn Fleury is No. 6 among North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL entry draft, according to the Central Scouting Service mid-term rankings.
SWIFT CURRENT –— The Red Deer Rebels were in synch from start to finish Saturday and closed out their four-game WHL road trip with a convincing 3-0 win over the Swift Current Broncos. “We competed for a complete 60 minutes last night,” Rebels associate coach Jeff Truitt said Sunday. “We didn’t give up a lot defensively and that’s a credit to everybody, from the forwards working hard to the defence making good plays, And obviously Patty (netminder Patrik Bartosak) was good when he needed to be.
Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter is confident that he didn’t lose any offence but gained a measure of sandpaper when he sent Matt Bellerive to the Kamloops Blazers Thursday in return for Aspen Sterzer in an exchange of 19-year-old forwards.
For major junior players, the National Hockey League entry draft is the opening to the fastest route towards earning a major-league pay cheque. And yet, for every player who gets to the world’s top league via the draft, there are so many more who never play a game in the NHL despite hearing their name called on draft day.
REGINA — The Red Deer Rebels continue to lose precious ground in the WHL Eastern Conference playoff race. The Rebels suffered a dreadful 6-2 loss to the Regina Pats before 3,364 fans at the Brandt Centre Wednesday to fall five points back of their sixth-place hosts.
BRANDON — The Red Deer Rebels fell apart defensively in the third period of Tuesday’s Western Hockey League encounter with the Brandon Wheat Kings and the end result was predictable. “We didn’t defend very well in our own zone in the third,” said Rebels associate coach Jeff Truitt, following a 5-2 loss before 3,113 fans at Westman Place.
Unless the Red Deer Rebels can bolster their back end, look for GM/head coach Brent Sutter to stand pat at Friday’s Western Hockey League trade deadline. While Sutter feels his defensive corps could use a boost, he’s more than satisfied with what he has up front.
BRANDON — Rhyse Dieno boarded the Red Deer Rebels team bus Sunday evening but might not play during the club’s four-game Western Hockey League road trip starting here tonight. The Rebels’ second-leading scorer suffered a cut to his thigh during Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors and didn’t return to the game. He’s listed as day-to-day on the Rebels’ weekly injury report.
Unlike their previous two home games, the Red Deer Rebels were OK in the first period of Sunday’s WHL meeting with the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. As for the second period . . . well, that was another story, as the visitors not only held their ground but scored once to assume a lead they never relinquished en route to a 4-3 victory before a recorded crowd of 4,704 at the Enmax Centrium.
As Patrik Bartosak goes, so go the Red Deer Rebels. It should come as no surprise, then, that Bartosak’s improved play in recent weeks has resulted in an upswing in the club’s fortunes.
Over their five-game winning streak the Red Deer Rebels talked about being ready to play every time out and being at the top of their game.
EDMONTON — It’s no secret that for the Red Deer Rebels to be successful they need everyone to contribute, and that certainly includes their goaltenders. Patrik Bartosak has more than held up his end of the bargain over the past two seasons. He gave everyone a good indication as to why he was the Canadian Hockey League goaltender of the year last season with a sparkling 46 save performance in a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings in Western Hockey League play before 7.137 fans at the Rexall Place Sunday afternoon.
It may be the festive season but the Red Deer Rebels weren’t in a giving mood Friday. In fact the only gifts they were handing out where to themselves as they turned in a solid performance in downing the Calgary Hitmen 3-2 in Western Hockey League action before a recorded crowd of 5,623 at the Centrium, Friday.
Getting traded for the first time is always a shock, but one couldn’t blame Kolton Dixon if he had a bit of a smile on his face after it was announced he was traded to the Red Deer Rebels by the Victoria Royals early in the Western Hockey League season. “It was definitely a bit of a shock, but having grown up here, and playing all my minor hockey here, it was also a dream come true (to come back home),” said the 18-year-old defenceman. “It’s been a great experience so far, being close to my family and friends.”