Oleg Zaytsev and Brett Davis scored goals in Saturday’s game against the Victoria Royals, but overall the team couldn’t capitalize on opportunities to score.
The Rebels lost in a shootout, 3-2.
Rookie Goalie Byron Fancy shone throughout the game, making several impressive. He stopped 32 pucks.
“He played really well and we need that from our goalies,” said Head Coach and General Manager Brent Sutter of the rookie who had not played a game since Dec. 1st. “From here on in, the rest of the season we need to have good goaltending.
“He got in tonight and he was rock solid. He played big. He made some huge saves. He was active and did a really good job.”
Fancy said he has been strong during practices lately. He thought the team played better than Friday night when they lost 5-3 to the Calgary Hitmen.
“It was great to see the guys playing like that in front of me,” he said. “I thought our work ethic was back and we had a lot more fun tonight than we have been.”
Sutter called the game ‘hard-fought.’
“At the end of the night, we had power plays and got chances on them, but we didn’t capitalize and they got the shorthanded goal,” he said. “But I was happy with our compete level and our play tonight as far as our overall game.”
Defenseman Chase Leslie played in a new role as a fifth forward at the beginning of the game, a move Sutter said he used to, “Get a little more pace, a little more speed into our game.
“I was just telling the coach, I think we found a new forward,” Sutter said of Leslie. “Cause he’s quick, and he’s got a good shot.
“When you use him at the middle, he can be a low man in your own zone and help your defense out and he had a lot of energy,” he said.
Sutter said he had a good feeling about the move.
“Leslie would be good if something ever happened in our own zone,” he continued. “He took his first faceoff and he won it clean, so I had no problem with starting five guys.
“The kids got to have a little chuckle out of it and it kind of loosened things up a little bit and that’s what I was hoping for.”
In the first period, Zaytsev broke the ice with the first goal of the night at 14:13, with Brandon Hagel and Carson Sass assisting. It was his seventh goal of the season.
At the beginning of the second, Royals Defenceman Jameson Murray found the back of the net. About two minutes later, Kaid Oliver scored the Royals’ second goal with an assist from Tarun Fizer.
The Rebels picked up in the third period. Davis scored in the first 19 seconds with an assist from Sass.
The Rebels had several chances to score but the puck didn’t get past Royals Netminder Griffen Outhouse. He faced 36 shots in total.
Tied 2-2, the game went into overtime, but neither team managed to score.
In the second tense shootout of the week (the Rebels won Wednesday in a shootout), only Hagel managed to score.
The Royals scored twice.
The Rebels are road tripping for the next four games. They are back at home on Jan. 18th against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.