Thursday, December 5, 2013

REBELS: Doetzel Provides Spark, Volek Gets World Juniors Invite

Red Deer Rebels fans, who were kept away from last night’s game due to this not-so-lovely blast of winter weather, or for whatever other reasons, are today all probably all thinking the same thing.

Doetzel did that? You gotta be kidding?!

It’s true, honest. The game changing offensive play was last night made by a stay-at-home defenseman who had not scored a single goal all season long.
With his team trailing 3-1 late in the second period, Rebels defenseman Kayle Doetzel channelled his inner Bobby Orr and went on an end-to-end rush and capped it off with a stunning goal.

36 seconds later Dominik Volek tied the game before the end of the middle frame. Haydn Fleury netted the game winner in the opening minute of the third period as the Rebels stunned the Prince Albert Raiders 6-3.

The goal came at the perfect time, with Doetzel’s team in need of a major spark. After Brady Gaudet had been banished to the penalty box for a (somewhat questionable) holding infraction the Raiders scored two goals just 27 seconds apart to take that 3-1 lead. As I had put on twitter the game had been “put on its ear.” A definite sense of shock had made its way into the Enmax Centrium.

But with a single, spectacular, very much unexpected play… Doetzel lifted his team’s spirits and provided the game with its marquee moment.

“Really, the turning point was Doetz’s rush,” noted GM and Head Coach Brent Sutter during his postgame scrum. “He scored a big goal there for us and we gained momentum off that we seemed to carry it right through from there on.”

Let’s be realistic about this moving forward. Is this goal likely to spark an offensive explosion for Doetzel? It’s about as likely as… But for now, let’s all enjoy the moment provided to us by Doetzel for both its sheer beauty and its impact.

Overall, in examining last night’s game, the Rebels put forth their second straight strong performance on home ice (after beating Prince George 5-1 on November 23). It was certainly much improved over their road effort just one night earlier.

“We needed as response [from Tuesday’s 5-2 loss in Calgary] and it certainly was a 180 from last night,” Sutter noted. “You know our effort, from start to finish, we had a pretty solid game, right from our goaltender right on out through our whole team.”

Doetzel provided the spark while Fleury notched the game winner, highlighting a great effort by the Rebels defence corps.

Said Sutter “Really, the difference though was the fact that I thought our defence, overall as a group, did a really good job of moving pucks, making the right plays, smart decisions with pucks. When you get pucks out of your zone, you’re able to make those stick-to-stick passes and get speed through the neutral zone. It creates stuff for you.”

“It was four on four,” Doetzel explained as he discussed the play with me this afternoon. “The puck popped out in front of the [Rebels] net where I was and I saw an opening so I put the hammer down. I beat the one guy and saw their d-men kind of flat-footed so I thought ‘what the heck’ and I tried to burn him wide. Then I saw an opening to the net so I took it to there and just tried to beat the goalie.”

Beat the goalie he did… with a sharp backhander lifted straight to the top-shelf.

“I surprised even myself a little bit,” said Doetzel regarding the spectacular shot. “It was just good to get it in there.”

Now that he’s done it once, is this something we can look forward to seeing again from Doetzel at any point?

“Yeah, it’s still kinda there. I’m more of a defensive defenseman but if there’s an opening…”


Some great news today for Dominik Volek as he was named to the Czech Republic’s selection camp roster for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships.

It comes at a time when Volek, in the opinion of many, is playing his best hockey since coming to the Rebels at around this time last year in a trade from the Regina Pats (though Volek was playing professionally in Europe at the time).

“I’m gonna try everything,” Volek said regarding his attempt to crack the final team roster. “Bring everything that I’ve learned here because we have in our pool Canada and the US. So, I think it’s going to help that I’ve been here [WHL] three years now. I know the type of hockey and that Brent is coaching Team Canada, so it’s going to be fun to play against him.”

“The good thing about Dom,” explains Rebels Associate Coach Jeff Truitt “is that he has been very opportunistic. When he gets these chances in the offensive zone he’s starting to bury these things, and in a lot of different ways. There’s been some really nice plays off of the rush, he’s had a couple of long shots that have gone in, a bit fortunate that way. He’s shooting more than what he did last year. He was more of a playmaker last year and now he’s finishing and that’s great to see.”

27 players are on the selection camp roster. Volek says they plan to cut 2 of the 16 forwards who are invited. The plan is that he will be leaving the Rebels on December 11th for the Czech Republic and, should he make the team and play in the tournament, return January 8th and rejoin the Rebels for their game in Regina that night (meaning he would miss 9 Rebels games).


As they move toward the end of what perhaps is their toughest week of the season, based on the strength of their opponents, the Rebels are showing they can indeed hang in there with the league’s best teams when the put their minds to it. The Rebels are 2-2 in this eight day stretch with wins over Medicine Hat and Prince Albert and losses to Swift Current and Calgary. This coming Saturday’s game versus the always strong Portland Winterhawks will be another bellwether test for this Red Deer Rebels club.



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