Red Deer Rebels start season off strong

  • Sep. 30, 2015 5:37 p.m.

The Red Deer Rebels got their Memorial Cup hosting season off to an explosive start this past weekend.

The Rebels swept the Edmonton Oil Kings in a two game home-and-home series, winning their season opener by a score of 4-1 in front of a crowd of 6,399 at the ENMAX Centrium last Saturday before heading north on the QEII Hwy. to spoil the Oil Kings’ home opener in a 3-2 overtime thriller, despite being without three of their top players due to ongoing NHL camps.

Saturday’s game got off to a shaky start when, just 40 seconds in, Brett Pollock of the Oil Kings intercepted a pass across the blue line and fired a shot past Rebels goaltender Rylan Toth to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead. The Oil Kings would outshoot the Rebels 10-5 in the first period.

“I don’t know if we really expected much more in the first,” said Rebels Head Coach Brent Sutter after the game. Sutter added that because the team had had only one practice together and one game with their lines, he expected them to take a little while to settle in.

But settle in they did, as that was the only goal the Rebels would give up that night.

“I think we were not nervous. I think we were just too ready. We’ve been thinking about it for the past five days and I think we just over thought about it,” said newcomer Ivan Nikolishin, who picked up an assist and earned himself the second star of the game.

Michael Spacek, who the Rebels acquired in the 2015 Import Draft, knotted the game up at the 6:57 mark of the first with his first of three goals on the weekend. Centreman Presten Kopeck picked up the assist on the goal.

The home team came flying out of the gates in the second, outshooting the Oil Kings 13-7.

The Rebels took the lead at 3:57 of the second frame thanks to Spacek’s second of the night, which he scored on the power play, with assists going to Nikolishin and veteran Adam Musil.

From that point onwards the Rebels were absolutely dominant, adding two more tallies thanks to goals from Grayson Pawlenchuck and Jeff de Witt. Goalie Rylan Toth was solid, stopping 23 out of the 24 shots he faced.

“I thought our work ethic, I thought our game as we went on we did a lot of things better and our details were better,” Sutter said.

The second game of the weekend was a much closer affair.

The Rebels came out with the same drive they showed in Saturday’s matchup, peppering Oil Kings’ starter Patrick Dea with 19 shots in the opening frame while allowing only four on their own goaltender.

Dea, however, was outstanding, turning aside every single puck he faced, including a late period penalty shot, to keep the score tied 0-0 after one.

It took the Rebels until the 3:59 mark of the second to finally solve Dea thanks to a goal by Red Deerian Colton Bobyk. Nikolishin and Spacek picked up the assists.

The lead wouldn’t last long, however. Edmonton responded just three minutes later with a goal from Lane Bauer to tie the game up at one going into the third, although the tie wouldn’t last long either.

Nine minutes after the start of the third period, Tyler Robertson fired a shot past Toth to give Edmonton a 2-1 lead.

The Rebels managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, though, thanks to some late-game heroics by none other than Spacek and Nikolishin. With just 29 seconds left in the game, Toth on the bench for an extra attacker and the Rebels on the power play, Bobyk fired a one-timer, which Dea turned aside. Spacek scooped up the rebound right in front and fired a quick pass over to Nikolishin, who made no mistake, wiring the puck over the stick of a sprawling Dea and into the wide open net to score his first goal as a Rebel and tying the game at two with no time to spare.

That set the stage for Spacek to become the overtime hero. Just 54 seconds into the extra frame, Spacek picked up the puck behind the net, and skated it up the ice with a two on one opportunity. Spacek skated over the blue line, looked to pass, then fired the puck past Dea to cement the victory with his fifth point in just two games.

The Rebels play two games this weekend. First up, on Friday, the Swift Current Broncos will pay a visit to the ENMAX Centrium. Then, on Saturday, the Rebels will square off against the defending WHL Champions when the Kelowna Rockets come to town.

Just Posted

Central Alberta dancers ‘shimmy’ for a great cause

Shimmy Mob will take place in more than 169 locations all over the world

Johnny 2 Fingers and the Deformities play The Vat April 27th

Moose Jaw band is on a 39-day national tour from Quebec City to Vancouver

Council highlights

Council to fund Rimbey Boys and Girls Club for $15,000

WATCH: Second annual Our Best To You Craft Sale on now

Red Deerians can expect over 150 artisans, makers and designers

Red Deer RCMP look for James Holley on warrants

Holley is believed to be in possession of firearms

WATCH: ‘Battle of the Badges’ event raises money for Humboldt Broncos

Red Deerians get together at charity hockey tournament April 20th at Servus Arena

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

5 things to know about the ongoing influx of asylum seekers in Canada

Number of illegal border crossings are up this year – as RCMP, military, politicians try to combat

Producer, DJ Avicii found dead at 28

Swedish-born artist Tim Bergling, was found in Muscat, Oman

Most Read