Optimist Rebels battle to draw

Having played seven games in a little over a week the Red Deer Optimist Rebels would have every right to be worn out.

Rebels 3 Storm 3

Having played seven games in a little over a week the Red Deer Optimist Rebels would have every right to be worn out.

But Rebels head coach Doug Quinn wasn’t about to use that as an excuse following a 3-3 tie with the winless Grande Prairie Storm in Alberta Midget Hockey League play at the Arena Sunday afternoon.

“We started OK and had a lot of shots (26 in the first period), but when we didn’t score the other team started playing with a lot of confidence and played with more determination,” said Quinn.

“What I didn’t like was the way we reacted. I thought when our team play broke down a lot of individuals started trying to do it all by themselves.

“And when you allow a team to stay around all of a sudden something is going to happen.”

What happened was that the Storm scored twice in the third period to take a 3-2 lead. But Scott Feser notched a power play goal at the 15 minute mark to give the Rebels a tie.

In the end the Rebels held a 52-19 edge in shots with Talon Walton turning in a solid effort in the Grande Prairie goal. Matt Zentner was in net for the Rebels, who led 2-1 after the second period. The teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes.

Brady Bakke scored in the opening period for Red Deer with Brendan Dennis connecting in the second. Justin Loroff scored for the Storm in the first period with Braden Filler and Jace Weegar connecting in the third.

While Quinn didn’t use fatigue as an excuse for the off performance, he did say it was there.

“I can’t say if a little fatigue was going on, but we did play last weekend, then had a tough, tough game Wednesday against Sherwood Park and a tough game last night (in St. Albert). We did seem to be a step slower than normal and our commitment level wasn’t good.”

Quinn added that he warned his team about taking the 0-13-1 Storm lightly.

“I warned them that any team in this league can beat any other team on a given night.

“We had lots of shots, but didn’t bare down. I thought we had too many turnovers and you see the results.”

The Rebels played four games and posted a 2-1-1 record in Grand Forks, N.D. in a tournament at the University of North Dakota, then played three league games this week.

“The tournament was excellent for us,” Quinn said.

“We got to a new level, playing against high level teams. It was a great learning experience. We didn’t get to the final, but were more concerned about playing good quality teams and for our team to grow.”

The Rebels came back and beat Sherwood Park and downed the league’s top-ranked team in St. Albert 4-3 Saturday.

“I thought we were a little fatigued last night as well, plus we’re battling a few injuries, especially on defence.”

Quinn called up defenceman Gabe Bast from the minor midget AAA IROC Chiefs for the game Sunday.

“Gabe played a very solid game, in fact he may have been my best defenceman,” said Quinn, who also used the IROC’s Colton Bobyk the last couple of games.

“It’s nice to see the quality of kids on the way up,” he added.

On Saturday in St. Albert, Dason Sydora faced 21 shots in goal for the Rebels, who had 32 shots.

Ty Mappin, Stefan Danielson, Dylan Thudium and Joel Topping scored for the Rebels, who scored with 17 seconds remaining in the third period to pull out the win.

The Rebels return to action next Saturday against St. Albert at 4:45 p.m. at the Arena.