Josephson impressive in Rebels’ big win over Broncos
Rebels 6 Broncos 1
With all apologies to Red Deer Rebels forward Dallon Melin, who has rediscovered his scoring touch, he unknowingly spoiled a good story Wednesday night.
The Rebels’ final goal in a convincing 6-1 win over the visiting Swift Current Broncos was originally credited to 15-year-old Ollie Josephson, making his WHL debut after being picked fifth overall in last week’s Prospects Draft.
However, the game was well over when it was determined that Melin had potted his third of the season with just under two minutes remaining in the game, cashing in on a goalmouth scramble.
Naturally, Josephson assumed the goal was his when it was announced as such and following the game described the apparent highlight while wondering if indeed the puck had already entered the net before it touched his stick.
“I thought it had already went in, but thought I’d just try to jam it in to see if it actually was in. It was a pretty special moment,” he said.
“It was about as greasy as they get. But they don’t ask how, they ask how many.”
Regardless of the scoring change, Josephson gave the 2,546 fans at the Peavey Mart Centrium a glimpse of what he’ll provide to the Rebels in the next three years and possibly beyond.
“He had a good time and he played well,” said head coach Steve Konowalchuk. “You can see the talent level and why he was highly rated (going into the Prospects Draft). We were fortunate to be able to pick him. “He has good speed and good skill. The guys are having a fun time in there (locker room) right now and congratulations to Ollie for sure.”
Josephson admitted he was dealing with a case of the jitters prior to the contest.
“I was obviously very excited but very nervous as well,” he said. ‘I thought it went pretty well. After getting a couple of puck touches the nerves went away.”
Meanwhile, the Rebels turned in a stellar two-way performance, basically ruling in all three zones.
“It was a solid game pretty much for 60 minutes at both ends of the ice,” said Konowalchuk. “We didn’t give them a whole lot and I thought we cycled the puck well and protected it and took what the other team was giving us. It was a good team game.”
As has been the case for much of the season, the line of Jhett Larson and veterans Arshdeep Bains and Ben King paced the Rebels offensively, with Bains connecting once and adding two assists, King potting one goal and picking up a helper and Larson scoring the game’s first goal.
Larson converted a perfect feed from Christoffer Sedoff midway through the opening period, putting a backhand deke on netminder Isaac Poulter and slipping the puck between his pads.
“That line got us going early,” said Konowalchuk. “That was a nice play. That’s a big goal, the first one is always big.
“They’re a dangerous line. They’re working hard and they’re playing the right way and have been doing it for most of the season. They’re complete hockey players with skill.
“We lean on them and they know they have to come every night. They’re embracing their role and playing good hockey for us.”
King made it 2-0 on a tap-in of a pass from Trey Patterson later in the period and Kai Uchacz increased Red Deer’s lead when he converted a rebound early in the middle frame.
Josh Filmon got the Broncos on the board when he cashed a nifty behind-the-net offering from Connor Hvidston midway through the period, but Kyle Masters restored the Rebels’ three-goal cushion in the final minute of the second when his rising point shot beat Poulter through a crowd.
Bains upped the count to 5-1 at 7:28 of the third period on a backdoor play with King, before Melin, with his third goal in three games, closed out the scoring.
Notable: The Broncos were zero-for-four on the power play, the Rebels one-for-two . . . Poulter was busy in the Broncos’ net, turning aside 34 shots. Connor Ungar made 14 saves for Red Deer . . . The three stars: (1) Bains, (2) King and (3) Kalan Lind, who assisted on Uchacz’s goal . . . Sedoff joined Bains and King with a multiple-point game, picking up two assists . . . The Rebels are back in action Friday against the Calgary Hitmen, then visit the Hitmen Sunday afternoon in their final game prior to the Christmas break.