Rebels down Oil Kings in exhibition opener
Rebels 6 Oil Kings 5
The Red Deer Rebels suffered a late lapse Friday night at the Centrium, but there was more good than bad in their WHL preseason opener.
“There were moments when we were better than other moments, but it was the first game of the exhibition season,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter following a 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings.
“We had some guys who hadn’t played together, defencemen with different partners. Both teams obviously had a lot of young kids in their lineups and it was good to see how guys handle certain things. It gives you some kind of a feel on things.”
Red Deer defenceman Colin Paradis opened the scoring 5:17 into the contests with a wrist shot from the point that beat netminder Sebastian Cossa.
Vince Loschiavo pulled the visitors even just over 10 minutes later and Austin Schellenberg restored the Rebels lead at 17:32 with a one-timer of a nifty feed from Alex Morozoff.
The Oil Kings struck for a pair of markers within the first seven minutes of the second period, with Brett Kemp scoring short-handed and Logan Moon also connecting.
But defenceman Dawson Barteaux scored on a screened point shot shortly after with the Oil Kings down two men, and Jordan Borysiuk gave the Rebels a lead they wouldn’t relinquish two minutes later when he sunk a perfect pass from River Fahey while driving to the net.
The Rebels went on to pot another two man advantage tallies, with Reese Johnson and Josh Tarzwell pulling the trigger, and finished three-for-seven on the power play.
“The power play was fine,” said Sutter. “After the first couple we got moving better and handling pucks better.”
The Rebels boss used his first-timers on a regular basis and several of the rookie hopefuls were effective.
Defenceman Kyle Masters, a 15-year-old first-round pick in May’s bantam draft, was perhaps the most noticeable of the younger players. Impressive, considering he’s not eligible to play full time in the WHL until next year.
“He’s a good player, very dynamic,” Sutter said of the Edmonton product, who displayed his obvious skill and a willingness to jump up into the play.
“At times he’s high risk, but he’s a young guy and you don’t want to take that away from him. I thought a lot of the young guys played pretty good tonight.”
Sutter also liked what he saw from returnees Schellenberg, Morozoff and Fahey, as well as 16-year-olds Borysiuk and defenceman Jace Isley, among others.
“It’s good to see those young guys play, and like I said, there was a lot of young guys on both teams,” he said. “That’s what exhibition is for, especially early.”
Barteaux, who contributed two assists for a three-point night, was equally impressed with the Rebels’ fresh-faced youngsters.
“I think it was a positive game just to see how we compare with other team’s prospects,” he said. “They played hard and to take them out was big for us.
“Our younger guys are all super-talented, obviously, there’s a reason they got drafted and are still here. It’s pretty cool seeing them and hopefully I get to play with them this year and next year.”
Barteaux was selected by Dallas in June’s NHL entry draft and will attend the Stars rookie camp next week.
“I’ve got some nerves in me but I’m super excited. It’s something new and it’s been my childhood dream forever,” said Barteaux. “To finally take that next step is pretty exciting.”
Moon and Quinn Benjafield notched a pair of late goals for the Oil Kings, who got a 26-save performance from Cossa through the first two periods. Boston Bilous replaced Cossa for the third period and stopped five of the six shots he faced.
Byron Fancy made 30 saves in a complete-game performance for the Rebels. His most impressive stop came on Trey Fix-Wolansky in the third period, as the Claresholm native got a pad on the veteran forward’s shot from close range.
Edmonton was zero-for-four on the power play.
The Rebels four-team preseason tournament will conclude Saturday with the Kootenay Ice facing the Oil Kings at 3 p.m. and Red Deer clashing with the Calgary Hitmen at 7 p.m.
° In Friday’s earlier game, the Hitmen did all their damage in the third period while downing the Ice 4-1.
Scoring for the Hitmen, who trailed 1-0 after 40 minutes, were Egor Zamula, Red Deer natives Tye Carriere, whose goal was the eventual winner, and Luke Coleman, and Zach Huber, into an empty net with 46 seconds remaining.
Conner McClennon had the lone goal for Kootenay, scoring at 19:29 of the second period.
Hitmen netminder Carl Stankowski stopped all 19 shots he faced through the first half of the game. Jack McNaughton made nine saves the rest of the way.
Ice starter Jesse Makaj didn’t allow a goal on 20 shots. Will Gurski gave up all four goals and finished with 15 saves.