Newcomer pots a pair in Rebels win; Hagel nets a hat trick
Rebels 9 Ice 2
A long day turned into an eventful evening for Cam Hausinger.
Acquired Friday from the Saskatoon Blades, Hausinger boarded a flight, got to Red Deer a few hours before game time and made a memorable debut with his new club, scoring twice in a 9-2 romp over the visiting Kootenay Ice.
For the 17-year-old forward, Friday’s goals were his first two of the season after picking up three assists in 20 games with the Blades prior to the trade, which netted Saskatoon a seventh-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft and a fifth rounder the following year.
“I just felt like the puck was bouncing my way today, plus I had good teammates with me,” said Hausinger. “Obviously I was excited about being here and I think that played into the game. I played with a lot of heart, I tried to show what I can do out there.
“I feel like that helped my game a lot.”
Hausinger flew from Saskatoon to Edmonton and arrived in the provincial capital at about 2:30 p.m. Ninety minutes later he was in Red Deer, just in time to meet his new teammates prior to the contest.
“It was a long day,” said the native of Anchorage, Alaska. “I heard about (the trade) in the morning, went home and packed and got away. As soon as I learned about the trade I was ready to start my journey to Red Deer.”
Hausinger, who plays a physical game, was in his second season with the Blades and was hoping he would be dealt to another WHL club.
“There wasn’t a lot of success happening for me in Saskatoon this year. I was looking for a fresh start and obviously it’s already helped out,” he said.
Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter was impressed with his new forward.
“He’s going to bring us certain things. He’s a little pit bull, he’s going to play with tenacity and he’s going to finish checks,” Sutter said of the five-foot-10, 188-pound winger.
“He got a couple of goals tonight, which is great. I told him before the game tonight that we want him to get to the net and score goals. We don’t want him to be (just) a guy who provides energy and enthusiasm and finishes checks. That’s part of his game, but we need some offence from him too.
“We have to continue to work with him and he has to adjust to how we play here. But for the most part he played pretty well.”
Almost lost in the Hausinger hype was Brandon Hagel’s hat-trick performance and another strong game from linemate Michael Spacek, who recorded two assists.
“They are top guys. The Spaceks, (Adam) Musils and the Hagels are top, top guys,” said Sutter.
Hagel opened the scoring 11:49 into the game, beating Ice goalie Payton Lee on a breakaway after being sprung on a perfect feed from Spacek.
Hausinger connected in the final minute of the first period, cashing a rebound from the side of the net and the Rebels went on to snipe three goals in the middle stanza and four more in the final frame.
Hagel made it 3-0 when he converted a cross-crease pass from Spacek at 7:49 of the second period and Musil fed Akash Bains for his fourth goal of the season just over two minutes later.
Barrett Sheen got the Ice on the board in short order, beating Rebels stopper Lasse Petersen to the far side, but defenceman Jared Freadrich got that one back for the Rebels with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that appeared to handcuff Lee.
With a 5-1 lead after 40 minutes, the Rebels weren’t necessarily home free, noted Sutter, considering Kootenay scored three third-period goals in Wednesday’s 6-5 shootout win over Red Deer at Cranbrook.
“It was nice to have somewhat of a cushion in the third, but at the same time we didn’t want to have bad habits,” he said. “In Kootenay we had some bad habits in the third period, but the kids responded in the right way tonight and that’s what we wanted.”
Jordan Roy potted his fourth of the season (and his second as a Rebel since being acquired from Tri-City in September) on a short-handed breakaway 7:22 into the third period.
From there, the Rebels erupted for a trio of markers in a span of 39 seconds. Hagel notched his third of the night at 9:01, shoving a loose puck under Lee, D-Jay Jerome connected at 9:21 and Hausinger notched his second — a power-play tally — at 9:40.
Sutter left his premier players on the bench for the final dozen minutes of the game.
“There was no reason for them to be out there with us about to play our fourth game in five nights tomorrow (Saturday versus the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors),” said the Rebels boss.
“They weren’t happy, to say the least, but that’s all right. The other guys got a chance to play.”
Ice rookie Eli Lieffers closed out the scoring in the game’s final minute on a deflection.
Petersen was solid while turning aside 27 shots. Included were at least three stellar stops, including a sliding pad save on Ice sniper Zak Zborosky late in the second period.
Lee made 34 saves before being replaced by Jakob Walter following Red Deer’s eighth goal. Walter blocked seven of the eight shots he faced the rest of the way.
“At the end of the day, it’s a win,” said Sutter. “I just thought we did a lot of good things here. Obviously we scored some timely goals and we were able to get minutes out of other guys, which was important.”
Overage forward Evan Polei will return to the Red Deer lineup versus the Warriors after serving a one-game suspension Friday for being assessed a charging major and game misconduct in Wednesday’s game.
° Rebels Scouting Report
Rebels vs. Moose Jaw Warriors; Saturday, 7 p.m., Centrium
The Warriors won 5-4 Friday at Calgary and with a 14-5-4 record are third in the Eastern Conference and second in the East Division. The Warriors are 0-3 versus the Rebels this season, having lost in regulation time in Red Deer and twice in overtime at Moose Jaw . . . LW Nikita Popugaev leads the Warriors scoring parade with 36 points, including 18 goals. C Jayden Halbgewachs is next in line with 28 points (17-11), while C Noah Gregor (10-17-27) and former Lethbridge Hurricane LW Brayden Burke (5-22-27) have also eclipsed the 20-point mark and C Brett Howden has contributed 10 goals and 17 points in 12 games . . . Zach Sawchenko is ninth among WHL netminders with a 3.04 goals-against average. His save percentage is .915.
Injuries: Moose Jaw — LW Jaxan Kaluski (lower body, indefinite). Red Deer — RW Reese Johnson (upper body, indefinite), LW Grayson Pawlenchuk (lower body, week-to-week), G Tyson Verhelst (upper body, indefinite).
Special teams: Moose Jaw — Power play 17 per cent, 18th overall; penalty kill 76.6 per cent, 17th. Red Deer — Power play 18.8 per cent, 13th overall; penalty kill 77 per cent, 16th.