He may still be a rookie, but Red Deer Rebels rookie goaltender Riley Lamb may have solidified his status as a fan favourite after his performance over the past few games.
The 17-year-old goalie from Rivers, Man. became an instant hit with Rebels fans thanks to his showstopping performances in not one but three games at the ENMAX Centrium, as he backstopped the Rebels to a 2-1 record last week.
“It feels pretty good. It’s nice to get the first one out of the way. Hopefully I’ll grab a few more, but I’m happy about it for sure,” said Lamb after recording his first career WHL shutout in a 5-0 Rebels win over the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday night.
After dropping three of their last four games, Lamb and the Rebels knew they had to find a way to win as they kicked off a four game homestand last Wednesday night at the Enmax Centrium. They did just that, though, as they posted a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Kamloops Blazers.
“At the end of the day you get a win. You’re down 3-0 at the end of the first period and you find a way to come back and even it up and pull it out in the first period. Credit to the kids, they played hard. That’s one thing this group is going to do, they’re going to play hard,” said Rebels Head Coach and GM Brent Sutter after Wednesday night’s game, which saw Lamb earn a first star selection after coming into the game at the start of the second period in relief of 20-year-old starter Trevor Martin.
“Marty, how do you fault him for any goal, you can’t when they get opportunities like that. I was just looking for a change. Lamber played great. You look at a couple of saves early in the second and he kept the game 3-0 and he allowed us to claw away and pick away at it.”
The Rebs followed up that dramatic performance with a 6-3 loss to the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night and a whopping 5-0 win over the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday.
“They’re a group that’s going to work and they’re going to compete and they’re going to play hard. It’s one thing that this group can’t be questioned with is our work ethic. So it’s just making sure that we continue to understand the way we want to play as a team, continue to understand what our structure is and we need to continue to improve on those minor penalties we’re taking,” Sutter said after the win over Kelowna.
He added that Lamb was a huge part of the win after he stopped all 38 shots the Rockets put on him.
“Lamber made some huge saves for us. I wanted to go back with Lamber, it’s the first time he’s had a chance to play in back-to-back situations, so that was significant,” he said.
Lamb was solid for the Rebels all week long, as he stopped 97 of the 105 shots directed his way over the past three home games.
The young goalie praised his defense for standing tall and helping him out on the way to the shutout victory.
“Our defense did a really good job taking their sticks away, there weren’t really many deflections and I’ve seen pretty much every puck,” he said.
Lamb and the Rebels are back in action on Friday night when the Moose Jaw Warriors come to town. Puck drop on that one is at 7 p.m.