For the first time in his WHL career, Josh Tarzwell scored twice in one game.
His two goals and an assist were all the offense Red Deer needed as they took a 3-2 victory in their first preseason action on home ice.
“It’s nice to get (two goals) and hopefully that can translate into the regular season at some point. We’ll see what (Head Coach and GM) Brent (Sutter) has in store. I’m sure he has a lot of things going on but it would be awesome to stay with them for sure.”
The point was being made by Tarzwell, who spent the better part of the final two periods on a line with 20-year-old veterans Cameron Hausinger and Brett Davis.
The action on the night was akin to river hockey, especially in the opening period.
“I thought the game was fast-paced. There were times when it was sloppy. It’s our first exhibition game. I’m sure their coach is saying the same thing,” said Sutter following the action.
“I liked the energy. I liked the work ethic. The kids competed. There were some young guys (who) stood out more than others. Other guys, as the game went on, started to settle in.”
And they needed to settle in after the Hurricanes jumped out to an early lead on a goal from 2001-born Rylan Thiessen. His point shot made it past a screened Ethan Anders. For Thiessen, it was his first WHL point.
Nearly nine minutes later, Tarzwell notched his first of the night on a give-and-go with Hausinger. Tarzwell’s shot was a backhand that snuck under Bryan Thomson’s arm.
That was it for the first period.
An early hooking call on the Hurricanes sent the Rebels to their second power play of the night. A cross-ice feed from Tarzwell to Brett Davis bent the twine behind Thomson to give the Rebels their first lead of the night.
It was short-lived as the Hurricanes returned the favour just two minutes and twenty seconds later. Alex Thacker scored on a broken rush into the Rebels zone. The pass from Alex Cotton hit a skate in the middle of the ice, throwing off everyone’s timing by a hair, except for Thacker.
The scoring in the period ended there, but Jayden Grubbe was granted a penalty shot with 5:26 to go in the period. An unfortunate bounce caused Grubbe to lose control of the puck, and it sailed beyond the playable area.
The eventual game-winner came with 10:43 to play in the final stanza. Once again on the power play, Josh Tarzwell scored, this time from right in front of Thomson. Zak Smith‘s shot created a rebound and Tarzwell made no mistake.
Despite pulling Thomson for an extra attacker with just over a minute to play, the Hurricanes were unable to draw even.
Brent Sutter added to the praise he had for Tarzwell at the end of the media scrum.
“The big thing with Tarz (Josh Tarzwell) is skating. He’s got such a great shot, but he’s gotta skate and move his feet. He’s strong and can play like a bull.
“He was in the right place at the right time and he was moving his feet. With his shot, if he hits the net, it’s a good thing.”
Rebel Yell… Thomson played 58:58 of the night’s contest, stopping 30 of 33 shots. Carl Tetachuk was his back up for the game. Red Deer split the netminding duties between Anders (30:03, 13 saves on 15 shots) and Eric Ward (29:57, 13 saves on 13 shots). Red Deer was 2-for-6 on the power play while Lethbridge was 0-for-4. Two mouthguard violations were handed out — one to each team. Lethbridge did not start any of their 20-year-old players for their first game of the preseason; Red Deer had all three of theirs in the lineup.