(Kennewick, WA) From the start on Friday night, you could tell that both the host Tri-City Americans and the Red Deer Rebels were not about to turn down their intensity just because it was just a preseason game at the Red Lion Tournament in Kennewick. The hits were flying fast and furious leading to a tumultuous second period which saw both coaches and multiple players ejected.
The key moment came when hard-hitting Tri-City import defenseman Roman Kalinichenko lined up Red Deer Rebels forward River Fahey and knocked him hard into the glass. Both River Fahey and Alexander Alexeyev challenged Kalinichenko, leading to a near line brawl. Alexyev and Austin Pratt were both given game misconducts, as were Tri-City’s Sasha Mutala and Kalinichenko. 10-minute misconducts were dealt to Red Deer’s River Fahey, Jared Dmytriw and Tri-City’s Liam Belcourt and Keltie Jeri-Leon.
This was not the last incident to occur in the period, as Tri-City’s Maxwell James’ hit and ensuing comments to the Red Deer bench at end of the frame caused Red Deer Head Coach Brent Sutter to lose his cool. Soon enough, both Tri-City’s Head Coach Mike Williamson and Sutter were standing up against the Plexiglas that separated their benches screaming at each other. They even ended up giving off the signs that would lead one to believe they were going to physically fight each other. James was handed a 10-minute misconduct and both coaches were ejected. The WHL will likely get involved in regards to either suspensions or fines for the incident.
With all this occurring, one could be forgiven for forgetting there was a game going on. However, Austin Schellenberg provided the difference in a tight affair, giving the Rebels a 3-2 win. Connor Bouchard led the way for Tri-City in the losing effort with a goal and an assist.
Tri-City’s overage backstop Patrick Dea stopped 25 of 28, while Red Deer’s Riley Lamb turned away 20 of 24. The Americans were undone by the fact that they could not net a single power play goal, despite getting eight chances. Included in those eight was two different five-on-three advantages of 1:14 or longer.
Connor Bouchard got things going for Tri-City as he found the rebound of a Jeri-Leon shot, stuffing it into the net for his first of the game and preseason. Red Deer responded 10 minutes later as Akash Bains and Jordan Roy cycled the puck and got the puck to Jacob Herauf at the blue line. Herauf’s shot found its way through the traffic and past Dea. This was Herauf’s first career WHL goal, preseason or otherwise.
Tri-City again found a rebound in the second period as 15-year-old forward Kaden Kohle followed up the play and finished off the chance that both Brendan O’Reilly and Bouchard started. This gave Tri-City another lead at 2-1. That lasted until Austin Pratt poked home a rebound on the power play, tying it again. This was when all the madness happened. Tri-City could not convert on the two-man advantage afterwards, giving Red Deer a chance to steal the game.
They would do just that in the third period as Austin Schellenberg burst in on the rush and beat Dea for the winner 4:25 into the final frame. Riley Lamb preserved the victory with remarkable, point-blank saves on Riley Sawchuk and Carson Focht.
-Both teams were missing many players at NHL training camps.
-Red Deer gets back at things tomorrow when they take on Portland.
-Tri-City will play against Spokane.