Evan Polei endeared himself as a fan favourite for Red Deer Rebels by giving everything he had both on and off the ice.
Wednesday night at the Enmax Centrium, Polei netted a goal and an assist for the Edmonton Oilers Rookies in a 6-3 loss to the Calgary Flames Rookies.
The game was played in front of a sold out crowd, split nearly-even between Oilers and Flames supporters, but all happy to watch Polei play once more.
“All these fans supported me for four years and it was so much fun playing in front of them. I didn’t think I would be back this soon,” the 22-year-old Wetaskiwin native said after the game. “I had the best experience here in Red Deer and I wouldn’t be where I am today without my fans and coaches that helped me through.”
Polei split last season between the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors and the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder.
If all goes as he hopes, he’ll be playing the entirety of this season with Bakersfield.
“Just a steady year in the American league with the Condors and help them out as much as I can. Go down there and play hard all year and hopefully good things come down the road.”
Calgary jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead Wednesday night on a pair of goals from Dmitry Zavgorodniy and one from D’Artagnan Joly.
Luke Esposito replied for Edmonton to make it a 3-1 game through 20 minutes.
Cameron Hebig made it 3-2 in period two before Polei put home a rebound to tie the game with just over five minutes left in the middle frame.
The Flames took the game over again in period three starting with a breakway from Adam Ruzicka six minutes in.
Former Swift Current Broncos star Glenn Gawdin made it 5-3 with just over eight minutes remaining. Brett Pollock rounded out the scoring with a late power play tally.
Tyler Parsons started the game in net for Calgary and was replaced midway by Mason McDonald. Olivier Rodrigue and Stuart Skinner tended the twine for Edmonton.
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