AAA Midget Red Deer Rebel Chief Dylan Thudium chases Ft. Saskatchewan Ranger Trevor Poirier during first period action at the Arena in Red Deer Sunday afternoon.

AAA Midget Red Deer Rebel Chief Dylan Thudium chases Ft. Saskatchewan Ranger Trevor Poirier during first period action at the Arena in Red Deer Sunday afternoon.

Optimist Rebels coach not thrilled with team’s play

Red Deer Optimist Rebels head coach Doug Quinn isn’t necessarily a perfectionist, but he doesn’t sugar-coat the issue if his club is not playing to its capabilities.

Optimist Rebels 5 Rangers 3

Red Deer Optimist Rebels head coach Doug Quinn isn’t necessarily a perfectionist, but he doesn’t sugar-coat the issue if his club is not playing to its capabilities.

The Rebels posted their sixth straight Alberta Midget Hockey League victory on Sunday at the Arena, 5-3 over the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers.

Quinn, though, wasn’t impressed.

“I wasn’t thrilled with how we played,” he said. “Obviously I’m happy that we won, but I’m more concerned with how we play and I just didn’t think that we were ready to play at the start.

“We got behind early, we just weren’t sharp. There were far too many turnovers and overall I thought it was an average game for us.”

The Rangers led 1-0 after 20 minutes on a goal from Dylan Stang, but the Optimist Rebels roared back with second-period markers from Joel Topping, Rory Davidson, Brady Bakke and Dylan Thudium to take a 4-2 lead into the final frame. Tommy Hrazdira scored for the visitors in the middle stanza.

Stefan Danielson closed out the Red Deer scoring with a short-handed, empty-net goal at 19:10 of the third period.

Jessey Touchette replied for the Rangers 28 seconds later, but their fate had already been sealed.

Matt Zentner stopped 18 shots for the hosts, who fired 40 at Rangers netminder Tyler Berger.

Clearly, Sunday’s less-than-satisfactory outing by the Optimist Rebels was an exception rather than the rule for a team that hasn’t lost since Oct. 23.

Red Deer has recorded 10 wins and a tie since that date and holds down top spot in the South Division with a 14-2-2 slate.

“And I think this is why it’s always a bit of concern for the coaching staff,” said Quinn.

“Obviously we’ve had success, but that’s when things start going a little sideways . . . when we’re thinking that we’re pretty good and all of a sudden the work ethic and the intensity starts going a little sideways.

“We were fortunate today. Zentner played well and made some big saves. I just didn’t think we were at our best today.”

The Optimist Rebels return to action on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Arena versus the Edmonton Maple Leafs.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com