Terrific twosome deadly once again as Rebels roll over ‘Canes
Rebels 8 Hurricanes 1
The Red Deer Rebels dynamic duo struck again Saturday night at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
And with a little help from their friends, they parlayed a combined six-point performance into an 8-1thrashing of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in front of a recorded crowd of 2,761.
Even more impressive, King’s three-goal, one-assist effort gave him 58 points, tying him with Bains, who had two helpers, for the league scoring lead.
King has a league best 33 goals and is first in power play goals with 16, while Bains leads all WHL players with 39 assists.
It seems very much like a never ending story.
“They’re two very skilled players and they just read off each other so well,” said Rebels centre Liam Keeler, who scored twice. “You look at Arsh who’s just a terrific play maker and Kinger can finish, he’s been scoring just about every night.
“Those guys have been huge and I’ve been able to be out there on the power play with them and open up space for myself and them.”
The Rebels, who led 2-0 after one period and 5-0 after 40 minutes, got additional markers from Dallon Melin, Carter Anderson and Frantisek Formanek. Defenceman Christoffer Sedoff chipped in with three assists.
“It’s great to see that. We lean on guys like Arsh and Kinger a lot to produce offence, but in a game like that you see the depth that we have on our team,” said Keeler. “It seems that everyone is starting to fire on all cylinders and it’s kind of the right time of the year to be doing that.
“We’re excited to see what we can keep doing moving forward.”
King opened the scoring on the power play a mere 3:11 into the contest on a pass from Bains. Melin cashed a fine feed from Jayden Grubbe exactly seven minutes later and the Rebels never looked back.
“Our guys came to play. It’s so important to have a good start and they did,” said Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk.
“It was good to see everyone was able to be involved, a lot of guys contributed in different ways. It was a pretty solid team win.”
The goal of the game, and what has to be one of the niftiest in the league this season, was once again a Bains-King production. Bains broke over the blueline, slipped past a defenceman and fed King with a wonderful backhand pass that resulted in his hat trick goal.
“They’re top players in the league and Jhett Larson fits right on that line,” said Konowalchuk. “We expect them to play hard and give themselves a chance to get results, and they expect that from themselves and they have since the start of the year. Good for them.”
King extended his points streak to eight games and Bains has now recorded 32 points in his last 17 games.
Keeler, meanwhile, has been on a heater of his own. His two goals gave him 19 on the season and the 20-year-old former Edmonton Oil King has now scored nine goals in his last seven games.
“He’s really been rolling the last few weeks now. He’s always been a fast skater and he’s strong on pucks,” said Konowalchuk. “He fits into the power play real nice and he has some good finish. He’s shown that in the shootouts and on breakaways as well.
“It’s nice to see him take another step offensively.”
Keeler said he used the Christmas break to refocus and came back determined to become a more complete player for the Rebels.
“I think I’m capable of being a good player in this league moving forward,” he said. “I just tried to come back with the mindset that it’s kind of the end of my (WHL) career, so try and go out on as high of a note as I can.”
Formanek closed out the scoring with his first-ever WHL goal. The 17-year-old Czech winger played his eighth game after joining the Rebels in early January.
Formanek, who has improved on a game-to-game basis and could be an offensive force down the road, bolted down the right wing after taking a breakout pass from Sedoff and ripped a shot past netminder Harrison Meneghin.
“Good for him. He’s played good for us and he’s had chances,” said Konowalchuk. “He’s a guy who will be able to put the puck in the net. Good for him to get that first one. It was a good shot down the wing.
“I know he’s probably relieved right now.”
Notable: Logan Wormald notched the ‘Canes’ lone goal, a power-play tally early in the third period . . . Connor Ungar was rock soild in the Red Deer net, making 38 saves. Canes’ starter Jared Picklyk stopped 24 of 28 shots before being replaced by Meneghin following the Rebels’ fourth goal. The Lethbridge backup blocked seven of the 11 shots he faced . . . The three stars: (1) King, (2) Keeler and (3) Bains . . . Red Deer was two-for three on the power play, Lethbridge one-for-four . . . The Rebels are back in action Sunday, taking on the Tigers in Medicine Hat. Red Deer will then play three more road games — next Friday and Saturday in Prince Albert and Saskatoon and the following Monday in Brandon — before returning home for a Feb. 11 contest versus the Oil Kings.