Thankfully, for me, this write up is timelier following Feser’s two point performance in the Rebels 4-3 shootout win last night over the Brandon Wheat Kings [GAME STORY] for which he was named as the game’s 1st star.
Feser worked a perfect give-and-go to set up Presten Kopeck for the game’s opening goal then later banged home a slick pass from Haydn Fleury for his 6th goal of the season (in his 24th game played).
It’s quickly developing into a great story. A hometown Red Deer kid comes back after being sent down to Junior A for the second time in as many seasons and makes the best of his opportunity.
In naming Feser as the 1st star in last night’s game, Rebels colour commentator Mike Moller says Feser has made great strides in stepping his game up at both ends of the rink.
“He has the offensive ability given the opportunity. But, on the other side, he helps kill penalties and defensively has really good positioning.”
“In overtime, there was a play where it was him against three Brandon Wheat Kings in the zone… to eventually get the puck in front of the net to Nick Charif, who had a scoring chance. That’s indicative of how he played tonight. He made plays with the puck and he made plays without the puck.”
For his part, Feser says he’s just been sticking with what he’s been trying to do all along.
“I always just wanted to keep working hard and keep getting better as an individual,” Feser told me during a pre-practice chat on Tuesday. “That comes with an opportunity to play and when given that opportunity you don’t want to pass it up.”
Confidence is definitely at an all-time high right now for Feser and that is translating into tangible results.
“I feel like I have a role here. When you have a role and you feel like you’re contributing it’s a lot more fun to play and it’s just that much more rewarding.”
Despite being assigned to the Camrose Kodiaks at the start of the season, again, Feser never lost faith that he’d earn another shot with the Rebels.
“When it’s happened before you just know that anything can happen. I knew there was a possibility of me coming back but I was still a little bit surprised [at being sent down]. But you always want to keep every door open because the hockey world is a crazy thing.”
Even when he was traded away by the Kodiaks, Feser didn’t allow his resolve to be broken.
“One morning, I came in for the pregame skate and I was told I was traded to Okotoks. Then I had to play the team I was traded from the next day. So yeah, it’s been a bit of a crazy year but I’m happy where I’m at now.”
After being brought in to fill out the roster in the wake of a series of injuries in late November, Feser has not only filled out the Rebels roster but has solidified his spot in the top nine forwards. His play on last week’s three game road trip in Saskatchewan reinforced that as Feser was used in pretty much every situation possible.
“Between guys going down [to injury] and we take penalties or there are powerplays you are always getting chances to play with different guys. I’ve been playing left wing, centre and right wing so you’ve just got to go out with whoever try and do your best.”
“I’ve tried not focusing on that not too much but it is obviously something you want to do. You want to score a few goals so it definitely feels good. But it’s not my number one role here… I just want to do the little things needed to help the team win.”
With all due respect to Feser and his great effort, he was not the one who generated last night’s, to borrow from Chris Cuthbert, “Did you see that?!” moment.
Evan Polei first period fight versus Wheat Kings forward Kord Pankewicz started out as an evenly matched contest. That changed in an instant when Polei ended the bout with a devastating right cross to Pankewicz’s jaw.
While it may not have been the shot heard around the world, it will definitely be heard around the WHL once everyone sees the video evidence of Polei’s ferocious fisticuffs...
After seeing the fury unleashed by the 6’1” nearly 230 pound (17 year old!) Wetaskiwin native on his Drayton Valley counterpart, one has to think future combatants will think twice before entering the ring with this Polei bear (as per his twitter handle @polei_bear, not me).