Wutzke stands tall in Rebels shootout win over Silvertips
Rebels 3 Silvertips 2 (SO)
Chase Wutzke faced his toughest challenge of the season and came away with a passing grade.
When it came down to the shootout, he earned an A-plus.
The Red Deer Rebels rookie netminder, making his first start since Nov. 7, stared down all four opponents he faced in the one-on-one competition to help his team earn a 3-2 WHL win over the Everett Silvertips in front of 4,730 fans Saturday at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
After making 24 saves through 60 minutes and then the five-minute overtime, Wutzke refused to yield a goal in the shootout.
“It was good. I’d rather that it was just me and one guy and it came out good,” said the 17-year-old of the shootout challenge.
“It was great. The boys played great in front of me. I didn’t have to make too many saves.”
Rebels head coach Derrick Walser was visibly pleased for his young stopper.
“He works on it a lot,” said Walser, in reference to the skills competition. “In practice he’s always on the ice working hard. What a great feeling he must have after that. He stood tall with some really good quality shots he faced tonight.”
Wutzke admitted he works on his breakaway challenges each day in practice.
“Every day we’re practicing shootouts and I’m one of the young guys so I have to be in there and take the most pucks,” he said.
On the annual Tuque and Teddy Bear Toss night, the stuffed animals and winter gear littered the ice after Kai Uchacz scored at 19:49 of the opening period, one-timing a two-on-one feed from Kalan Lind past netminder Tyler Palmer.
The visitors pulled even early in the second period when Tarin Smith connected with a rising shot from the left circle, but Talon Brigley restored Red Deer’s lead just over two minutes later with a redirect of a point shot by Hunter Mayo.
Beau Courtney notched an equalizer with a shot from the right circle just under four minutes later and the score held through the remainder of regulation time and overtime.
After giving up two power play goals in an undisciplined 5-2 loss to visiting Moose Jaw Friday, the Rebels were zero-for-two with a man advantage and one-for-one on the penalty kill.
“As a staff we put a challenge to the guys to be physical but smart,” said Walser. “Last night we were physical but not so smart. Tonight we were awesome that way.
“It was a good team effort tonight from everybody. Everyone found a way to contribute with the minutes they had. They all bought in and did the little things. I thought we played a real solid game and now we have to build on it.”
At the forefront was Wutkze, who took his coach’s advice and ran with it.
“We had a little chat before the game and I just told him to be him,” said Walser. “Just laugh and be in the moment, be who you are. He’s a good goalie, we all know that.”
Notable: Jhett Larson was the lone goal scorer in the shootout . . . Netminder Rhett Stoesser was honoured prior to the game as the Mitchell and Jewell Rebels player of the month for November . . . The three stars: (1) Mayo, (2) Palmer, who made 42 saves, and (3) Brigley . . . The Rebels wrapped up their six-game homestand with a 5-1 record and will head out Monday on a four-game East Division trip, starting Tuesday in Brandon. Red Deer will also play Wednesday in Moose Jaw, Friday at Saskatoon and Saturday in Prince Albert. The Rebels will visit the Calgary Hitmen Dec. 13 before wrapping up the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule Dec. 14 and 16 at home versus the Swift Current Broncos and Regina Pats.
(Photos by Taylor Lachance)