Playing with the lead is always a good thing (duh) so Alex Petrovic figured why waste time.
Charles Inglis won the opening face-off and Petrovic took it from there, skating in and scoring just ten seconds into the first period.
The quick goal stood as the eventual game winner as the Rebels blanked the Prince Albert Raiders 4-0 Wednesday night at the Enmax Centrium. The win puts them back at the .500 mark for the season (24-24-1-4) and keeps them within four points of Brandon for the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference (the Wheaties came back to beat Regina 3-2 on Wednesday).
Petrovic was outstanding at both ends of the rink... finishing the game with two goals and well over 30 minutes of ice time, a result of the Rebels being able to dress only four defencemen. The Florida Panthers prospect is enjoying dealing with that challenge.
"You're out every second shift. Obviously, you can't complain... so you have to just take advantage of it and do my best out there... make simple plays and I thought I did that tonight."
Petrovic was far from being the only Rebels to play well on this night. All four Rebels defencemen played great as well. Mathew Dumba wasn't necessarily flashy but he was basically mistake-free. Cody Thiel and Stephen Hak, who in a non-injury ravaged season would likely be #7 and #8 on the depth chart and taking turns sitting in the press box, are doing a fantastic job with the opportunity they've both been given.
Up front... Youngsters Cory Millette and Joel Hamilton each had a goal and two assists and, in their own right, capitalized on some extra prime time shifts created by the absence of Colten Mayor.
And, as you would expect, the goaltender was on his game as well. Deven Dubyk was by no means busy in this one, facing just 17 shots, but he was solid and provided a calming influence between the pipes. He earned his first shutout as a Rebels in what should (hopefully) be his final game wearing those gaudy orange pads... the new ones are on their way!
The casual observer would mention the fact that the Rebels were playing the last place team in the conference. A team which came into last night 3-7 in its last ten games. Both are valid points. But the Rebels had played the Raiders twice previously this season... losing both games by scores of 7-2 and 5-0... meaning last night's 4-0 win came with a certain amount of payback.
Next up... a Friday night visit to Cranbrook.
The Bentley Generals visit the Lloydminster Border Kings tonight for game one of the Chinook Hockey League final. The Generals are seeking their sixth straight league title and seventh overall. Game two in this best of three series goes Saturday night in Bentley.