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

Motown Soul celebrates ‘greats’ of classic era

Show pays tribute to Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye among others

Women of Excellence Awards introduces ‘Women of Excellence in Construction’

Gala will take place June 19th at the Sheraton Red Deer

Check online to make sure you’re registered to vote in upcoming provincial election

Advance polls open Tuesday, April 9th to Saturday, April 13th

UPDATE: Christy Starling has been found

Red Deer RCMP thank the public for their assistance

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

GM announces jobs, electric vehicle after Trump criticism

The company says it will spend $300 million at its plant in Orion Township

Trucker who caused Broncos crash likely to be deported: lawyer

The Crown has asked that Sidhu serve 10 years in prison

China chemical plant blast kills 47, injures hundreds more

This is one of China’s worst industrial accidents in recent years

Most Read