Stoesser stars, Latimer scores twice as Rebels blank Hitmen
Rebels 3 Hitmen 0
CALGARY — A great start and a strong finish resulted in a much needed WHL victory for the Red Deer Rebels Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The visitors were easily the superior team in the opening period, were on their heels for much of the middle frame before finding their game again in the third.
In the end, the Rebels got two goals from Carson Latimer and a 40-save performance from Rhett Stoesser in a 3-0 conquest of the Calgary Hitmen.
“I was really happy with the start of our game. We did a good job of controlling them,” said Rebels head coach Derrick Walser.
Indeed, the Hitmen encountered all kinds of problems gaining the offensive zone, with the Red Deer defencemen mostly halting the opposing forwards at the Rebels blueline.
The Rebels also got the only goal they would need when Mats Lindgren fired from the top of the right circle and Latimer tipped the shot past netminder Ethan Buenaventura for a power play tally.
Latimer struck again a mere 37 seconds into the second frame. Buenaventura beat Kai Uchacz to a loose puck and his clearing shot glanced off the side boards and right to Latimer, who found the back of the net before the goaltender could get back in time.
The hosts, however, started to carry the play after the five-minute mark of the period but were unable to solve Stoesser, who made 15 saves before the intermission.
The Rebels also did a fine job of blocking shots and allowing Stoesser to stare down the perimeter offerings.
“I didn’t like our second period at all. I thought we got sort of disorganized, lost our way a bit,” said Walser, who watched his club bounce back in a positive way in the final frame.
“In the third . . . again, when you’re a team fighting and trying to learn now to win games, you have to play with composure,” he said. “I was really happy with our third period.”
Talon Brigley sealed the deal with an empty net goal from the Calgary blueline with 11 seconds remaining.
The Rebels also won the special teams battle, going one-for-two on the power play and three-for-three on the penalty kill.
“The penalty kill made some adjustments, our power play got a big goal and Stoesser was excellent,” said Walser. “The D corps let Stoesser see a lot of pucks and the desperation from our forwards tonight was great. They were getting in the way and blocking a lot of shots.”
The clubs meet again Saturday at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
“That’s one game, it’s over,” said Walser. “Now we get on the bus, get home and reset. The new day started 10 minutes ago.”
Notable: Buenaventura made 27 saves, including breakaway stops on Jhett Larson and Uchacz, who finished the night with two assists to run his point streak to eight games . . . Latimer’s goals were his ninth and 10th and of the season. Brigley’s goal was his sixth . . . The three stars: (1) Stoesser, (2) Latimer (3) Brigley . . . Saturday’s contest will kick off a Rebels six-game homestand. Red Deer will host the Brandon Wheat Kings and Regina Pats next Friday and Saturday, the Hitmen Nov. 28 and the Moose Jaw Warriors and Everett Silvertips to the Centrium Dec. 1 and 2.
(Calgary Hitmen photo)