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Rebels' Work Ethic, Goaltending Keys in Road Win over Broncos

January 26, 2022 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Red Deer Rebels News Release

Red Deer Rebels goaltender Chase Coward vs. the Swift Current Broncos
Red Deer Rebels goaltender Chase Coward vs. the Swift Current Broncos
(Red Deer Rebels)

SWIFT CURRENT - The Red Deer Rebels' work ethic was front and centre Tuesday night and they were rewarded with two points.

The Rebels played with a passion and got a great performance from netminder Chase Coward en route to a 5-2 WHL victory over the Swift Current Broncos before 1,314 fans at the Innovation Credit Union I-Plex.

"I thought our guys played hard, they battled hard. First and foremost, you have to battle hard when you come play on the road," said Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk, following the team's 15th win of the season away from the Peavey Mart Centrium.

"Swift Current played hard but so did we and that's why we gave ourselves a chance to win."

The Rebels' penalty kill was another factor. The Broncos opened the scoring on a first-period power play goal from Alexei Shanaurin, but came up empty on another six man-advantage situations.

Coward played a big role in that, finishing with 27 saves, including at least a half dozen of the dangerous variety.

"Good for him. That's how he played for the most part of the first half of the year," said Konowalchuk. "I think that's how he expects to play and we expect him to play like that.

"He had a good game, he made some timely saves, some good saves. We had some good penalty kills . . . your goaltender has to be your best penalty killer and he was good tonight."

After giving up the game's opening goal, the Rebels battled back to net two of their own in the first period.

As a Broncos defenceman attempted to carry the puck out of his own end, he was knocked over by Kalan Lind at the side of the net. Jayden Grubbe swooped in and fired a loose puck home to pull the Rebels even near the mid-way point of the frame.

Then, less than a minute later, Dallon Melin fed Jace Isley in the neutral zone and the Red Deer forward broke over the blueline and beat netminder Reid Dyck to the glove side.

Josh Davies, from a goalmouth scramble, notched an equalizer late in the second period, but the Rebels pulled away for good just 2:14 into the final frame when Ben King's shot off the end boards was converted by Arshdeep Bains.

King, with his WHL-best 29th goal of the season and league-leading 15th on the power play, made it 4-2 just over three minutes later, connecting on a bullet from the right circle.

The Broncos had a glorious opportunity to at least draw closer when Rebels rookie Frantisek Formanek was assessed a double minor for high sticking at the 6:50 mark, but the visitors killed both ends of the infraction.

"That was real big," said Konowalchuk. "If they score one on the first penalty then you're really pressing, but if you can get by the first one you're OK. We killed them both and took some life out of them. That was their big chance to get back in it."

Konowalchuk credited the likes of Grubbe, Isley, Kyle Masters and Jackson van de Leest for their work against the Broncos' power play.

"They all applied some good pressure on the penalty kill," said the bench boss. "All of our guys who went out there, along with our goalie, had good kills."

The Rebels also erased a late infraction to Jhett Larson before getting a man-advantage marker from Liam Keeler with 15 seconds remaining on the clock. Keeler, all alone in the slot, buried a corner pass from Bains.

"At times we didn't play smart enough but we can crack that as long as the energy and emotion are there," said Konowalchuk. "Just a couple of things to clean up there, but I know our guys are smart hockey players."

Notable: Coward was well deserving of his selection as the game's first star. The Swift Current native robbed Braeden Lewis in the first period, made a diving blocker save on Matthew Ward, took a goal away from Josh Filmon with a breakaway stop in the middle period, and held the fort during the Broncos' third period push, stopping all 10 shots he faced . . . Davies and Shanaurin were picked as the second and third stars . . . Dyck made 22 stops for the Broncos . . . The Rebels were two-for-six on the power play . . . Bains, with a goal and two assists, King (1g,1a) and Melin, with two helpers, turned in multi-point performances for Red Deer . . . Red Deer was without top defenceman Christoff Sedoff. "He's day-to-day with a couple bumps and bruises," said Konowalchuk . . . The Rebels host the Broncos Friday and then take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes 24 hours later at the Centrium.

Images from this story

Red Deer Rebels goaltender Chase Coward vs. the Swift Current Broncos
Red Deer Rebels goaltender Chase Coward vs. the Swift Current Broncos


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