The Red Deer Rebels passed on hometown boy Justin Feser in the 2007 Western Hockey League bantam draft.
After Saturday night, they might be regretting their decision.
Feser scored two goals in leading the Tri-City Americans to a 5-2 victory over the Rebels before an announced crowd of 4,505 at Toyota Center.
I grew up watching them, Feser said of the Rebels. It was nice to play good against them. It would have been nice to have been drafted by them, but I really cant complain. I was fortunate to come here and play. (General manager) Bob (Tory) and (former coach) Don (Nachbaur) gave me a chance to play my game. Its been a nice fit.
In the second of an eight-game homestand, the Americans (11-6-1-1, 24 points) ended a three-game losing streak to the Rebels (9-9-1-1, 20 points), who are two games into a five-game trip.
It was a really strong game for us, said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team has won two in a row. We limited their chances, and we generated more chances tonight and went to the net.
Red Deer, which was missing leading scorer Charles Inglis because of the flu, saw the end of its two-game win streak.
I didnt think we played as well as we did last night, said Rebels coach Jesse Wallin, whose team beat Spokane on Friday. They came out hard, skated well, and we had too many turnovers. That played in their favor.
Brian Williams also had two goals for Tri-City, including an empty-netter at 18:08 of the third to seal the win.
Brian has been working hard. It was finally his time, Hiller said. It was nice to see it go his way. It hasnt been for lack of effort. When you work hard and have skill, it will happen.
Feser scored his second goal of the night at 2:06 of the third period, knocking the puck away from Red Deer defenseman Kevin Pochuk at the blue line and going in alone on Rebels goalie Bolton Pouliot for his 10th marker of the year.
There was a lot of hard work in the D-zone, and the guys forced them to make a play, Feser said. I got a lucky bounce and put it home.
Patrik Bartosak replaced Pouliot, who allowed four goals on 27 shots. Bartosak finished with 10 saves.
In a fast-paced first period, the Americans took control with a 2-1 lead.
Tyson Dallman got the ball rolling at 5:24, redirecting a shot from the left point by Michal Plutnar for his second goal of the season.
The Rebels came back three minutes later as Cody Thiel backhanded the puck up and over Eric Comries left shoulder into a small window of space for his first goal of the year.
With less than 4 minutes left in the first period, Zach Yuen kept the puck in the Red Deer zone for Tri-City. Malte Strömwall took the puck around the net, then found Williams across the crease, who beat Pouliot at the right post at 16:46.
The Americans extended their lead to 3-2 at 8:25 of the second with a beauty of a goal by Feser.
Taking a pass from Strömwall, Feser took the puck up ice, and when Pochuk tripped trying to cut Feser off, Feser went to the net alone, drawing out Pouliot before putting the puck in an empty net.
Feser played well, Wallin said. Hes a top-end player you give him those opportunities, and hes going to take advantage.
The Rebels pulled within a goal late in the second as Turner Elson beat Tri-City defenseman Drydn Dow to a loose puck to the left of Comrie. With Comrie committed to the left post, Elson was able to sweep the puck into the right side of the net at 15:09.
Comrie, who picked up his 11th win, finished with 17 saves and also had an assist on Fesers first goal.
w Annie Fowler: 582-1574; email@example.com