If I didn’t know better I’d swear the Red Deer Midget Rebel Optimist Chiefs pulled a fast one on the officials during the Telus Cup final in Sault Ste. Marie Sunday.
For the entire game it seemed as if the local boys had seven players on the ice at all times. Each time they broke out of their zone they outnumbered Ottawa.
When dropping back to defend, it seemed it was far too crowded for the Ottawa players to move. In the corner there was always more Red Deer players around the puck in either end of the rink.
Such was the dominating performance by the Chiefs as they went back-to-back with a national championship, something which has not happened much in the history of the event. Notre Dame, Prince Albert and Ste. Foy, Quebec are the only other back-to-back winners.
Red Deer was all over the Ottawa team from the drop of the puck. These poor kids from Ottawa are going to have nightmares the rest of the year of the Chiefs’ logo coming at them in waves.
Ottawa’s goalie hadn’t lost a game all season and so it’s a real testament to Red Deer’s offensive prowess as they put five pucks past the beleaguered netminder on more than 50 shots. This from a team which was somewhat offensively challenged earlier in the season.
At the other end of the rink Red Deer didn’t allow much to get through to their goal and when it did, Matt Zentner, who watched last year as Dyson Sydora kept his team in it to beat Quebec, was there to make the save.
The program Doug Quinn and his coaching staff have put together would seem to be the handbook for all minor hockey teams simply based on results.
Red Deer has been to the final five times and come away with two victories – the heart stopping overtime win in 2012 and this year’s masterful performance by these young men.
While watching this game it was hard to not notice how not one player in black stood out from the rest. Each one of the Chiefs played the role given to him by the coaches and thus the result was about as total a team effort as one could imagine.
When you think this Red Deer team had just three returnees from last year’s title team, claiming the top honour for the second year in a row puts the Red Deer program in some very special company and deservedly so.