For 40 minutes, both teams were playing an excellent hockey game.
It was the final 20 minutes that saw the Winnipeg ICE pull away from the visiting Red Deer Rebels. The ICE scored four times in the third period en route to a 6-0 victory
For the ICE, it was imperative to help newcomer Dawson Barteaux shake the pregame jitters as he faced his former club in his first game for Winnipeg.
It didn’t take long as the team scored 6:40 in to the game. Barteaux collected his first point as a member of the ICE, an assist on Jackson Leppard’s goal. Michal Teply made a great pass from behind the net to Leppard who collected his 15th goal of the season.
“That helped a lot (getting an assist early), kinda brought the nerves down a lot. I haven’t been that nervous for a game in a while. It was hard seeing that jersey across there but I am really happy with where I ended up and what we are capable of doing here so it will be really good,” said newly acquired defenseman Dawson Barteaux.
“His (Barteaux’s) game was outstanding. You could see he can skate, he can defend, he’s strong on his feet, (and) he can move the puck. It was real nice having him. You can see he can play any type of game. I think his mobility, and how strong he is on his skates, and he can move the puck, those three things describes him. That’s what I saw out there. Obviously it’s real nice having a guy who can eat huge minutes for us and put other guys in the right spot,” said Winnipeg ICE Head Coach James Patrick.
From that point on, the Rebels and ICE played a physical game, with both teams finishing their checks and not allowing the other much time or space.
While not necessarily dominating the frame, the ICE held possession longer and got more shots off before the horn sounded on the first period. Red Deer did not register a shot on Liam Hughes until 13 minutes had expired in the game. The ICE went on to outshoot the Rebels 14-8 as they headed down the tunnel.
The second period started out much the same, except it felt as though both teams had more energy than before as there were several dashes up and down the ice.
Before the period was out, the ICE extended their lead to two goals on a stretch pass from Connor McClennon to Peyton Krebs, who was being honoured on mini bobble head night. The pass was tape-to-tape and Krebs was in all alone on Ethan Anders.
The Krebs shot was perfect, glancing off the inside of the post and behind Anders for his fourth goal of the season. At the time, it felt like a dagger to the gut for the Rebels, as they had a pretty solid 38 minutes before the second goal.
It did not take long to able to tell how deflated the Rebels were following the second goal as the ICE came out of the gate for the third period looking for more. They only needed 2:08 to find the back of the net, again on a pass from behind the net.
This time it was Michael Milne with his seventh goal of the season on a pass from Nino Kinder.
The ICE didn’t even need two minutes to score a crippling fourth goal. With a Rebel in the penalty box, Ben Zloty scored his second of the season. The chance was created when Teply hammered a shot at Anders. The shot created a rebound that landed right on the stick of Zloty who had an open net to hammer home a shot.
“I thought we did plug away. I thought for most part we defended. We had a couple of breakdowns, but when we did, Liam (Hughes) was there. For the most part, we kept them out of the scoring area. Maybe the depth of our forward lines, I thought our third line with (Nino) Kinder, (Michael) Milne, and (Cole) Muir got our team going. That was probably the difference at the end of the night but I did think we plugged away, plugged away, plugged away. Then, once we got that third goal, you felt a bit of the tension (dissipate),” said Patrick.
Another goal was scored before two minutes were up as a result of sloppy play by the Rebels in their own end. The ICE were dangerous from behind the goal line again as Teply grabbed a loose puck and popped it out front to Isaac Johnson. His blast made it by Anders to make the score 5-0 ICE.
With the game winding down and not much to play for, Connor McClennon added to his team leading goal total with his 21st of the season. Peyton Krebs found McClennon backdoor and he had a wide open net to shoot at.
The final score was 6-0 in favor of the Winnipeg ICE. That completed a disappointing four-game road swing for the Rebels as the team went 1-3-0-0.
“I thought it was a really good game for us. It was pretty tight there going into the end of the second. We started directing pucks at the net and got a couple bounces going our way and pucks started going in for us and we earned all those bounces but it was a real good game,” said Barteaux following the game
“I thought it was a way harder game than the score. For more than half the game, it was a one goal game. For two periods, they work as hard as anyone — they finish checks, they block shots and make it tough to score. I thought we defended well and didn’t give up many chances but I was still a little nervous. I was expecting more from our guys as far as getting pucks deep and driving. I wanted better net drive. I thought as soon as we got the third goal, things opened up and there was a little frustration on their part. The score, it didn’t feel like that for two periods,” said Patrick on the outcome of the night’s action.
Rebel Yell… The three stars were 1) Liam Hughes 2) Peyton Krebs 3) Dawson Barteaux. Winnipeg was 1-for-4 on the power play; the Rebels were 0-for-2. Red Deer was 29-for-54 in the faceoff circle. Michal Teply led all skaters with 5 shots on net. The next action for the Rebels comes Friday January 17th in Lethbridge to take on the Hurricanes. Winnipeg plays the Prince George Cougars at home on Tuesday night.
“They have some crazy talented young guys. The next years for them are going to be super exciting. I am very fond of everyone in that organization and all the coaches. They’ve done so much for me I can’t thank them enough. Obviously it was hard for both sides for it to happen. I think it’s best for me to go for a run at it here,” added Barteaux.