The Rebels dominated the Kelowna Rockets, 7-0, in the team’s first game back at home since Oct. 26th.
Their game was so strong Friday night that seven different players scored.
Brandon Hagel, fresh off signing a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks in October, found the back of the net early with a speedy, unassisted shorthanded goal halfway through the first period.
Rebels Head Coach and General Manager Brent Sutter said Hagel has been getting faster as his career progresses.
“It felt good tonight,” he said. “In the last couple of games, he was pretty sore, but he kept feeling better and his skating is back to where he was before.”
Still in the first, Forward Dallon Melin scored the second goal with assists from Chris Douglas and Oleg Zaytsev. It was the 16-year-old’s first goal of his WHL career.
“It was an unbelievable pass, I think a pylon could have scored that goal,” he said. “It felt good to get it, but I didn’t do much.”
Sutter said Melin’s line, which included Austin Schellenberg and River Fahey, had some ‘really good shifts.’
“One shift in the second, they hemmed them in their zone and there was some action happening around the net,” he said. “They gained some momentum back for us. That line did a great job.”
The Rebels played strong from the beginning to the end, scoring goals in every period.
“We played the way we wanted to play as far as our persistence on pucks, hard on pucks,” Sutter explained.
“We knew that we were playing a team tonight that, you know, they’ve got some good size, they play hard. We had to get in the trenches and win some battles and be competitive. We certainly did that tonight.”
After Friday, the Rockets face a four-game losing streak.
Two shorthanded goals during the game helped the Rebels gain momentum, Sutter added.
Reese Johnson scored the second shorthanded goal at 12:54 in the second with assists from Hagel and Jacob Herauf. It was the Captain’s 10th goal of the season.
This came after Forward Chris Douglas scored Red Deer’s third goal in the second period.
“The important thing is that they were early in PKs and then we had to do the job of killing off and that’s probably just as important so we got momentum coming out of it,” Sutter said. “The kids played hard. They played well.”
During the power play in the third, Jeff de Wit found the back of the net with Johnson and Hagel assisting for the team’s fifth goal. In another power play that period, Alex Morozoff scored the sixth with an assist from Josh Tarzwell. The seventh goal came from Carson Sass with Morozoff assisting again.
Goalie Ethan Anders played yet another solid night, stopping all of the Rockets 28 attempts to score. This earned him his second shutout of the season.
The win is the Rebel’s third straight win. It is their sixth victory in the past seven games.
The team hosts Kootenay Ice tonight at 7 p.m. at the Centrium.