Red Deer 2 Kootenay 0
CRANBROOK — Talk about a team effort.
The Red Deer Rebels were two men short of a full lineup Friday but still skated to a 2-0 Western Hockey League win over the Kootenay Ice before 2,788 fans at the Cranbrook Recreation Complex.
“I’m real proud of the boys, they played a heck of a game. We got a great effort from everyone,” said Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin, whose team has been decimated by injuries this season.
The Rebels got the only goal they needed from defenceman Alex Petrovic — his eighth of the season in the first period — and a second-period tally from Brooks Maxwell to go with a flawless 24-save outing from Deven Dubyk, who posted his second shutout of the season and second in two games.
The Ice, who were able to ice a full lineup of regulars, managed just a handful of decent scoring chances, while netminder Mackenzie Skapsaki had to be sharp while turning aside 19 shots, several of which were labelled.
The Rebels failed to gain any ground on eighth-place Brandon in the Eastern Conference playoff race as the Wheat Kings were 6-3 winners over the visiting Swift Current Broncos.
But the outside news didn’t lessen Wallin’s admiration of his team.
“Our guys have faced a lot of adversity over the last few months,” said the Rebels bench boss.
“And yet they have continued to push forward. Tonight we got a great effort, from Dubyk on out.”
For the first times in three games the Rebels were able to go with five defencemen with the addition of Winnipeg Wild midget AAA star Kevin Pochuk, but go-to rearguard Petrovic left late in the game after being cut by a high stick that wasn’t called.
Petrovic was cut for a bundle of stitches and didn’t return to the game but should be OK for tonight’s 7:30 p.m. meeting with the Moose Jaw Warriors at the Centrium.
“There should have been a (high sticking) call on that play, but overall out guys stayed focused and didn’t let anything bother them. They didn’t get rattled at all,” said Wallin, who had extra words of praise for the likes of rookie forwards Marc McCoy and Marc Mackenzie.