Three game weekends are just a way of life in the Western Hockey League.
The Red Deer Rebels were served a tough reminder of it this past weekend with an eastern swing through Brandon, Moose Jaw and Regina.
For the most part, the Rebels played well in earning a shootout win over Brandon Friday and challenging the preseason-favorite Moose Jaw Warriors in a narrow loss Saturday.
Unfortunately, they ran out of gas a period too soon in a blowout loss Sunday afternoon in Regina.
“We should have come out with at least four points,” said Rebels defenceman Jacob Herauf. “We didn’t play that well in the last two games, but overall it was a good experience for us. The young guys now have seen better teams, like Regina and Moose Jaw, so that’s good. But overall it wasn’t what it should have been.”
In looking at Saturday’s game at Moose Jaw, versus a Warriors team predicted by many to win the East Division and perhaps the Eastern Conference, Herauf is somewhat pleased with how his team showed.
“I thought we played pretty good for most of the game. We made a few mistakes that cost us some goals, so we could’ve been a lot better, that’s for sure. But it’s still a confidence builder because we were right there with them.”
When it comes to his own play, Herauf feels he’s heading in the right direction.
“I’m keeping things pretty simple,” he admitted. “There are a lot of things I can improve on, but I’m for the most part doing what the coaches ask. Hopefully, I’m doing okay.”
Rebels Associate Coach Jeff Truitt says Herauf came into the season in great shape and is playing smart hockey so far this season.
“He’s stepped up from last year, where maybe in your first year you’re a deer in the headlights,” Truitt remarked. “Now he knows he belongs here and is going to be a contributor. He’s been very composed with the puck. Position-wise, he’s been fine. He’s not making rookie mistakes, which is exactly what you’d expect from him in his second year. His progression has been real good so far.”
Two Rebels have been identified as “Players to Watch” for the 2018 NHL Draft.
Defenceman Alexander Alexeyev was listed as a ‘B’ prospect (2nd/3rd round candidate) while fellow blueliner Dawson Barteaux is pegged as a ‘C’ prospect (4th/5th/6th round candidate).
Alexeyev is considered "week to week" witn an upper body injury.
The Russian defenceman underwent an MRI Tuesday morning on his injured shoulder. He suffered the injury Friday night at Brandon and missed the remaining two games of the Rebels road trip.
He is listed as “indefinite” on the WHL weekly injury report which came out Tuesday afternoon (the Rebels submitted their list prior to the MRI test being done).
The Rebels had been fearing the worst for Alexeyev, who missed the final part of last season with a lower body injury.
Good news on the injury from comes with Austin Pratt, who returns to the lineup from an upper body injury.
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