Hurricanes 4 Rebels 3 (preseason)
Jhett Larson is used to being underestimated and he has grown to be proud of it.
The five-foot-eight, 169-pound winger may be the shortest player in the Rebels’ roster, but he always seems to find a way to make a difference.
“For me, if you have speed and lower body strength, I feel like I can really still use my body to my advantage,” said the 17-year-old forward.
Larson was unable to find the scoresheet on Friday as the Rebels lost 4-3 to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Lethbridge. He had two shots on goal and won six face-offs, all as part of his versatile style of play.
A modest teenager from the small town of Saskatchewan, Larson prefers to let his play speak. He played 16 games for the Rebels in last year’s shortened pandemic season and looks like a lock for a spot in the 2021-22 Rebels roster.
His youthful exuberance and ability to play anywhere on the ice have thrilled new Rebels coach Steve Konowalchuk.
“Good work ethic. Good skill level and brings energy. He’s a guy who will be able to be versatile, play different roles. Center to winger, nice young player, ”he said.
Even with the skill he brings, Larson has a different energy on the ice than many players. Konowalchuk likes the idea of the trio that Larson ends up with, as an energy line this season.
“Brings energy to this line, he sometimes played with (Carter Anderson) and (Dallon Melin). With Larson it’s an energy type line and could become a line, which he’s against that other teams don’t want to play against, ”he said.
“They are just quick and relentless and play a smart game.”
At 16 in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League with the Notre Dame Hounds, Larson had 14 goals and 23 assists in 40 games. While his energy is greatly appreciated now, his ability to score as an undersized striker could very well develop across the board.
“He has to develop his strength to go faster. He’s already a fast kid, but as he gets older he has to get even faster. To do that, he now has a head start on the loose pucks so he can participate a little more in the battles, ”said Konowalchuk.
“I think it comes naturally, but the relentlessness, the tenacity and I think that’s part of his lineup anyway, but it will keep getting better.
“The details and feel of hockey are part of the game, being a smart player and being able to be faster on readings will also help make his size less of a disadvantage.”
Kai Uchacz scored his third goal of the preseason on Friday, Arjun Bawa scored his first exhibition game and Carter Anderson added a power play tally early in the third. Defender Matteo Fabrizzi also collected his first point as a Rebel with an assist in the first half.
Chase Coward stopped 18 shots in the loss to Red Deer.
The Rebels host the Hurricanes in their final preseason game Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Centrium.