FACE WASH - Riley Lamb

The Red Deer Rebels look to clinch final playoff spot

Team back in action on Friday night in Cranbrook

  • Mar. 8, 2017 5:27 p.m.

It’s been two steps forward, one step back for the Red Deer Rebels since snapping an eight game losing skid late last month.

With the Western Hockey League playoffs just seven games away, the Rebels are beginning to hear footsteps as they attempt to hold down the third and final playoff spot in the Central Division.

“We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty here. We lost some ground here tonight. Both Calgary and Lethbridge won, so we lose a point to those teams but again we’re still in control but we’ve got to win, we’ve got to nail down these games that we’ve got leads in. We can’t lose them anymore,” said Rebels’ Head Coach/GM Brent Sutter after his squad dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Swift Current Broncos at the Centrium on Saturday night.

At the time of writing, the Rebels (26-28-7-4) held a three point lead over the Hitmen (25-30-8-2) in the Central Division standings.

Should that gap close, the Rebs would drop into the second and final Eastern Conference Wild Card spot and be just four points away from falling out of the playoff picture entirely.

Although the Rebels have made some headway in separating themselves from the Hitmen over the past week, recording an important 7-2 victory over their provincial rivals the weekend before last, the team has been struggling to play a full, consistent 60 minutes and it has been hurting them in the standings.

That inconsistency, Sutter said, played a role in Saturday night’s loss to the Broncos.

The Rebels put up a solid showing in a scoreless first period, killing off three early penalties to hold the fort.

Overall, Sutter said the Rebels special teams corps had a good showing in the game.

Rookie goaltender Riley Lamb turned aside 11 first period shots on his way to a 39 save performance and a first star selection.

The solid play continued into the second period and eventually it paid off for the home side as Rebels forward Dawson Martin banged in a rebound on the power play to give his team a narrow 1-0 lead. That lead would hold until the final five minutes of the third period, when Swift Current’s Aleksi Heponiemi sniped a shot top corner on Lamb to tie it up and send it to overtime.

It didn’t take long for the Broncos to capitalize on the momentum of the late game tying goal. Less than a minute into overtime Sylvan Lake native Tyler Steenbergen sealed the deal.

Sutter said part of the reason for the third period tying goal was a lack of drive to expand the lead on the Rebels’ part.

Beyond the consistency troubles, the Rebels were dealt another difficult blow earlier this week when they learned that team captain Adam Musil will be out week to week with a non-hockey related lower body injury.

Red Deer will be back in action on Friday night when they travel to Cranbrook to take on the Kootenay ICE in the first leg of a home and home set.


Just Posted

Get your healthy on

Healthy Living Expo promotes sustainable, innovative and healthy lifestyles

WATCH: Team Alberta visits Red Deer this weekend to prepare for Canada Winter Games

About 250 Team Alberta athletes toured venues and tested out facilities Saturday

École Secondaire Notre Dame High School students hold ‘Food Truck Friday’

Food studies students learn what it takes to run a food truck business while giving to a good cause

Action Group Society seeking support for transit program

Donate A Ride needs a boost in funds to serve the community

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Ponoka cowboy Vernon (Bud) Butterfield passes away

The Ponoka Stampede Association announced his passing Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Most Read