Recently named to the ‘A’ list by NHL central scouting, Kirby Dach made his 2018-19 debut in the Enmax Centrium as the Rebels took on the Blades.
Joining Dach from the Blades on the players to watch list was starting goaltender Nolan Maier, listed as a ‘C’ prospect.
Red Deer also had two players on the list, Russian Import forward Oleg Zaytsev was listed as a ‘B’ prospect and number one netminder Ethan Anders came in under the ‘C’ category.
All four players were looking to be a factor in getting their team the fourth win of the season.
It wouldn’t take long for Dach to get on the scoreboard.
Less than five minutes into the first period, he got an assist on a power play goal. Josh Tarzwell took an early hooking penalty and from there the Blades went to work. Florchuk scored from in the goal crease after Dawson Davidson’s shot hit Ethan Anders and landed in front of him.
A call against Brandon Hagel for a knee that clearly didn’t happen after being shown on the replay in the building, had Brent Sutter upset and the fans were giving it to the officials. Saskatoon was quick to score their second power play goal of the game, this time Josh Paterson was the recipient of a puck in the crease and he scored his first of the season. Dach would add his second assist of the night.
Chris Douglas was quick to bring the Rebels back to within a goal, scoring on the next line rush up the ice. He received a rink wide pass from Arshdeep Bains and wired a shot that got through the traffic in front of Maier to make it a 2-1 game.
Then on a power play of their own the Rebels evened the score at two. Brandon Hagel’s shot from the top of the circle found pay dirt after hitting Jeff de Wit in front. Hagel had found himself a little revenge for the penalty he was assessed earlier. It was de Wit’s fourth goal of the season.
To conclude a wild first period, there was a fifth goal scored and it was the Blades taking another lead.
Kristians Roykas-Marthinsen accepted a pass from Paterson as he was streaking down the wing. Roykas-Marthinsen’s shot on the rush fooled Anders and slid under his pads and in behind him. It was Roykas-Marthinsen’s second goal of the season.
The second period had barely started and de Wit would find the back of the net for a second time, also with a tip in in front of the net. Brandon Hagel’s shot was perfectly placed and found de Wit’s stick right in front of Maier who had no chance to make the save.
The second period turned out to be almost as wild as the first.
The Rebels took their first lead of the game with a goal by captain Reese Johnson, his third of the year was scored on a three-on-one. The pass from Josh Tarzwell was perfectly placed just feet from the front of the net and Johnson didn’t need to do much to put it past Maier who was also concentrating on the third skater.
Just past the midway point of the period, the Rebels would add to their lead on another power play.
Spending most of the two minutes in the Blades end of the ice, the Rebels passed the puck around with precision. Oleg Zaytsev would just barely connect with a one timer from Brandon Hagel. The shot would flop past the outstretched arms of Nolan Maier and into the net. The Rebels would have a two goal lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
Saskatoon would get themselves back into the game a little over five minutes into the period as Riley McKay’s wrist shot went bar down behind Anders. Donohoe made a bad play in his own end to set this one up as McKay was streaking into the zone and intercepted the pass.
It would be as close as the Blades would come as the Rebels did an excellent job of killing off the remaining 14-plus minutes of the third period. The team would rag the puck in the Blades end, not allowing Maier to be pulled until there were 40 seconds left on the clock.
Jeff de Wit was impressed with his linemates and how they played, “It’s pretty fun playing with those two skilled players out there. Hags creates so much ice because he’s so skilled that guys have to stick to him in tight. That gives me a bit more space there. And Zayts (Oleg Zaytsev) is a pretty, heads-up, smart player, so it’s really good.”
Rebel Yell…With two assists, Alexander Alexeyev extended his season opening point streak to six games. He now has three goals and six assists for nine points. Brandon Hagel’s three assists gave him the WHL scoring lead with 13 points. Red Deer’s power play was 2-for-4 while the penalty kill was 3-for-5. Carson Sass remains out with an injury following a nasty hit he took in Sunday’s game. His injury status is upper body day-to-day. The Rebels next game is not until Saturday as they host the Prince Albert Raiders. The Raiders play Wednesday and Friday before the arrive in Red Deer.