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Thursday, May 26, 2016


RED DEER, Alta. - The Red Deer Rebels felt the pain of elimination back in April when the Brandon Wheat Kings bounced them from the Western Hockey League playoffs. Evan Polei never forgot the feeling.

Polei scored in overtime as Red Deer exacted some revenge by knocking Brandon out of the 2016 Memorial Cup with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday.

"You can't even describe it because we lost to those guys,'' said Polei. "For them to come into this tournament and lose all three (round-robin games) and we're the ones to send them home is an absolute great feeling.''

The 20-year-old Polei, a Wetaskwin, Alta., native, took a feed from Conner Bleackley at the side of the net and beat Jordan Papirny 3:50 into the extra period.

"Surreal moment, it's my first overtime goal, biggest goal of my career,'' said Polei, who is in his fourth year of major junior.

"I thought (Bleackley) was gonna shoot. I actually fanned on that shot, it was fortunate to go in.''

Red Deer will face the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in Friday's semifinal. The OHL champion London Knights have already earned a berth in the tournament championship on Sunday after going 3-0 in round-robin play.

Adam Musil scored for the host Rebels in regulation time.

Tim McGauley scored for the WHL champion Wheat Kings.

Rylan Toth made 33 saves for the win as Papirny stopped 30-of-32 shots in defeat.

"Losing out to them was tough, little cherry on top to knock them out, maybe a little pay back I guess,'' said Toth.

Brandon also lost 5-3 to the Huskies and was hammered by the Knights 9-1 at the tournament.

"We had much higher hopes coming to the tournament than how it played out. The three teams that played the best are the teams still playing,'' said Wheat Kings coach Kelly McCrimmon. "Somewhere between the (WHL finals) and Red Deer we lost our mojo.''

(The Canadian Press)