Swift Current's Chase Coward made 20 saves in his return to the Rebels' net as Red Deer beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 2-1 to clinch top spot in the WHL's Central Division.
Coward sat out for most of this season after a congenital hip injury was discovered by Buffalo Sabres team doctors during the NHL team's training camp in the fall. The 20-year-old underwent surgery and had been practicing with the Rebels for the last month after being cleared to play, and Wednesday's start was his first game action since the 2022 playoffs.
First game back ✅— Red Deer Rebels (@Rebelshockey) March 9, 2023
5/5 in the first ✅#RDREBELS #WHL pic.twitter.com/7AzlBLcV4r
"I felt really good. I mean it was my first game in probably 10 months," Coward said after the game. "Getting thrown back in there was pretty good. I’ve been here awhile kind of honing my craft in practice and got the opportunity to come out and play tonight.
"I have to give a lot of credit to the team," he added. "They’ve really built a great team this year. Just being able to jump right in and feel at home was really nice."
Kai Uchacz and Jhett Larson scored for the Rebels and Dinsmore's Joe Arntsen picked up an assist on the Hurricanes' lone goal of the game by Chase Pauls late in the third period.