The Red Deer Rebels were going to beat the Vancouver Giants. No discussion necessary... the Rebels were going to win. Plain and simple.
Why? Because Charles Inglis said so.
The 19-year-old forward played his best game as a Rebel in leading Red Deer to a 4-2 victory Wednesday night at the Enmax Centrium.
The second period, in particular, was a treat to watch as Inglis torched the Giants for a goal and two assists... and he could have had more. His physical play at both ends of the rink was too much for Vancouver to handle. And his chemistry playing on a line with Tyson Ness and Colten Mayor was quite evident. His 11th goal of the season, and second as a Rebel, invoked memories of Mark Messier coming in on his off-wing and leaning into a sizzling wrist shot. Young Payton Lee had no chance at making the save.
The came could be said for Conner Bleackley's first ever WHL goal. The Rebels' first selection in the 2011 Bantam Draft let loose with a scorching wrister of his own in the second period to join the likes of Alex Petrovic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as players who have scored their first goal while still a 15-year-old. Exciting things await when it comes to this skilled young forward. As Jesse Wallin noted post-game "You put him out there and he looks like he belongs."
The Rebels also received some much appreciated help on the out of town scoreboard when Calgary blasted Brandon 7-2. Red Deer now trails Brandon by four points for the final playoff spot in the east. The Rebels still hold three games at hand.
Next up for the Rebels... a visit from the Tri City Americans Friday night.
- Mathew Dumba continues to play his best hockey of the season. With two more assists against the Giants, the draft eligible defenceman has 7 points in his last 4 games. He also had a picture perfect hip check early in the third period which brought the crowd to its feet. Unfortunately, it also brought Dumba a minor penalty for tripping.
- With a goal and an assist versus the Giants, Colten Mayor ties Turner Elson for second place in team scoring for the Rebels with 35 points. Elson has 16 goals, Mayor has 14.
- Deven Dubyk was not spectacular, but he was solid in making 29 saves to improve to 8-7-1-1 this season.
- Rebels scratches were Devan Fafard (upper body), Brooks Maxwell (upper), Justin Weller (wrist), Marc Mackenzie (upper) and Patrik Bartosak. Mackenzie looks favourable to return to the Rebels lineup next week.
- 15-year-old goalie Payton Lee suffered his first loss of the season for the Giants in his third game. Jackson Whistle came in for the third period and did not allow a goal against (making one spectacular diving save on Mayor in the final minutes). Starting goaltender Adam Morrison remains out, listed as 'day to day'
- Brendan Gallagher and David Musil both returned to the Giants lineup from their stints on the injured list