Rebels post second straight win over Hitmen in impressive fashion

Rebels 5 Hitmen 1

CALGARY — Following Friday’s 3-0 win over the Calgary Hitmen, Red Deer Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk wasn’t looking for his team to take a giant step forward in Saturday’s WHL preseason rematch.

“For an exhibition, it was a bit better than our last game and we want to be a little better tomorrow,” Konowalchuk said after Friday’s win, which evened their preseason record at 1-1 after a 5-3 loss to Edmonton the previous weekend.

His squad delivered — and then some — 24 hours later, thumping the Hitmen 5-1 at Siksika Deerfoot Sportsplex.

Tristan Zandee gave the hosts a lead 6:13 into the contest, but Arshdeep Bains notched his first of two goals just under eight minutes later and Dallon Melin potted the eventual winner late in the opening period.

Carter Anderson made it 3-1 with a power play tally late in the second period and Bains (power play) and Ethan Rowland scored third period goals for the visitors.

Rookie Justen Maric made 22 saves as the winning netminder. Jack McNaughton and Brayden Peters combined to stop 34 shots at the other end.

Melin and Anderson, who each picked up an assist, and Jace Isley, who had two helpers, joined Bains as Red Deer’s multi-point players.

The Rebels were two-for-four on the power play while the Hitmen were zero-for-five with a man advantage.

The Rebels wrap up exhibition play with a home-and-home series with the Lethbridge Hurricanes — Friday at Lethbridge and Saturday at the Peavey Mart Centrium

The Rebels open the WHL regular season Oct. 1 in Edmonton before hosting the Oil Kings in a rematch the following evening.

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