It’s been a tough road trip for the Red Deer Rebels in Saskatchewan over the past few days. A one-goal loss in Saskatoon Friday, an overtime loss in Prince Albert Saturday, followed by a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Broncos in Swift Current on Sunday.
It was the Rebels third game in three days with the final game of their four-game, five day road trip coming up Tuesday night when they face the Hurricanes in Lethbridge.
The first period in Sunday’s game saw Swift Current strike first. Aleksi Heponiemi scored his 20th of the season at 5:14, a power play goal following a hooking penalty to Red Deer’s Carson Sass to make it 1-0 Broncos. Red Deer replied though less than three minutes later when Kristian Reichel, back from his time with the Czech Republic at the World Juniors over Christmas, scored his 15th of the year at 7:55 on the power play to tie it up at 1-1.
The flurry of first period goals continued soon afterwards when Swift Current’s Matteo Gennaro scored his 27th goal of the season at the 8:21 mark to put the home team back on top 2-1, later proving to be the eventual game-winner.
However, special teams proved to be the difference in this game, as the Bronco’s Matteo Gennaro struck again at 15:07, this time on the power play following a kneeing penalty to Red Deer’s Ethan Sakowich to make it 3-1 Speedy Creek. It was Gennaro’s 28th of the year and second of the game.
Then with only 1:04 left in the opening frame, Swift Current took advantage of another power play opportunity when Artyom Minulin scored his sixth goal of the season by putting one behind Rebels goalie Riley Lamb to make it 4-1 Broncos after twenty minutes.
There was no scoring in the second period, just three penalties for the Broncos and two for the Rebels. Red Deer made a goalie change as well with Ethan Anders replacing Riley Lamb at the start of the second.
The third period saw Swift Current add one more goal to their total when Artyom Minulin scored his second of the night and seventh of the year at 6:11, again on the power play to make it a 5-1 Broncos final.
Shots on goal finished 31-20 in favour of Swift Current, with the Broncos going 4 for 6 on the power play, while Red Deer went 1 for 5.
The victory improves Swift Current’s record to 29-10-3-0 with 61 points and second place in the WHL’s East Division. Red Deer drops to 10-22-7-2 with 29 points and fifth place in the Central.
The Rebels next and final game of their current road swing is Tuesday night, January 9 when they visit the Hurricanes in Lethbridge for a 7:00 p.m. face-off.
You can catch all the action live on 106.7 The Drive starting with the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.
Highlights courtesy of the Western Hockey League, Swift Current Broncos
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