This one was scary.
On a seemingly innocent play midway through the third period, Rebels forward Joel Hamilton was hit into the single stanchion between the players benches at the Enmax Centrium.
He immediately made his way on to the end of the Rebels bench where he sat hunched over. Initial thoughts upon seeing this unfold from the press box was that Hamilton was merely winded.
But there he remained, hunched over and motionless, for the remainder of the period with Rebels Athletic Therapist Terrence Robertson standing by him the entire time. Something was up.
Long after both teams had retreated to their dressing rooms following the conclusion of the game, Hamilton remained seated at the end of the Rebels bench, still hunched over. He and Robertson were joined by two of the Red Deer EMS staff working at the game and they were taking every precaution necessary. Eventually, Hamilton was laid on to a backboard and taken to hospital. It made for a restless night for many of us involved with this Rebels club as we hoped for the best for Hamilton... who had a goal and an assist and was a +2 before leaving the game.
Earlier today... word came down via twitter regarding the extent of Hamilton's injury... courtesy of @GregMeachem - "Joel Hamilton has a fracture of his L1 and L2 vertebrae, out a minimum of 4 weeks. Long-term health not affected, will make a full recovery."
Hamilton also tweeted a few times himself today. He is thankful for all of the support he's received so far and is optimistic regarding his recovery.
That wasn't the only injury suffered by the Rebels in last night's 8-5 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors (more on the game itself coming up). Cory Millette left the game and did not return after taking a shot off the top of his foot. Thankfully, it is merely a bruise and he is listed as day-to-day meaning he could be ready in time for Wednesday night's game in Prince George.
As I mentioned, the Rebels two game winning streak came to an end last night by a score of 8-5. A solid opening period which saw the Rebels take a 2-0 lead was followed by a eye-popping nine goal outburst in the middle stanza. Unfortunately for the Rebels, Moose Jaw scored six of those nine goals.
After doing a great job of limiting the number of scoring chances they gave up against the Kootenay Ice one night earlier (a 2-0 Rebels victory in Cranbrook) the Rebels stumbled into a track meet with one of the elite teams in the WHL. With the likes of Quinton Howden, Cam Braes, James Henry, and Justin Kirsch all firing on all cylinders the Rebels were overmatched. The Rebels did not play horribly by any means (although they did have a couple of turnovers that proved costly) they were simply beaten by a solid Warriors club that is suddenly learning how to win road games... which is a scary prospect for their opponents as playoff time draws closer (Moose Jaw has just 12 road wins all season, but 3 of those wins came this week in Lethbridge, Calgary and Red Deer).
As a result of this weekend's action... the Rebels still remain four points back of Brandon for the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference. The Rebels now have just one game at hand on the Wheaties. And now... no more home games until March as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts takes over the Enmax Centrium.
Bright spots for the Rebels last night...
- The first ever WHL goal for defenceman Cody Thiel (perhaps my interview with him this week brought good karma haha)
- The first ever WHL point, an assist, for defenceman Kevin Pochuk... it may be a sign of things to come for the Rebels as it appears he will be granted leave from his midget AAA team in Manitoba, the Winnipeg Wild. They are cruising along in the standings and have the luxury to be able to part ways with Pochuk for a few games and not miss a beat. It's good news for the Rebels as it means they will start the road trip with at least five healthy defenceman (could be more if we hear good news on Monday regarding Devan Fafard and/or Kayle Doetzel)
- Charles Inglis scored again to extend his points streak to six straight games
Earlier this afternoon (Sunday) I made it over to the Red Deer Arena to watch the Optimist Rebels beat the Edmonton K of C Pats 8-2 in Alberta Midget Hockey League action. With the win, the baby rebs clinch first place in the Chrysler (south) Division and they can clinch first place overall with a win over Lethbridge in their final regular season game next Sunday.
Chatting with Head Coach Doug Quinn after today's game, he is extremely pleased with how his team responded since losing to the Calgary Flames last Thursday. They allowed just 13 shots against in their 5-0 win yesterday over Conner Bleackley and the UFA Bisons. Today, the Pats managed a mere 14 shots. Much like their WHL namesake, the midget Rebels have gone through their fair share of injuries of late. But the team has met the challenge head on and looks to be rounding into form just in time for the playoffs... good stuff!
More thoughts on the Rebels as well as the Bentley Generals, curling (Red Deer foursome becomes national champions!), and RDC Athletics coming tomorrow. Until then, enjoy what's left of your weekend :)