The win column for the Red Deer Rebels grew by four this past weekend after a 4-0 road swing through the Western Hockey League’s East Division.
The Rebels got things going with a 4-0 win in Moose Jaw last Wednesday, with Darcy Kuemper picking up his seventh shutout of the season, and followed that up with a tougher than expected 2-1 shootout win over Brandon on Friday.
On Saturday, the Rebels were in Regina to face a Pats squad that had beaten them twice previously in the shootout.
The skills contest would not play a part in this latest battle though, as Red Deer skated away with a 6-0 win over Regina.
Kuemper was in net for that one as well, and the 20-year-old Saskatoon native now has eight shutouts on the season, and 14 in his career as a Rebel, both franchise record.
The Rebels wrapped up the trip with a 5-1 win over Swift Current, with Dawson Guhle posting his first win with Red Deer.
“Obviously, pretty pleased with the end result, and I thought overall, we played pretty well throughout the entire trip,” said Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin after Sunday’s game.
“We went into Moose Jaw and had a real good start to the hockey game. We wanted to jump all over them and we did that. I thought in Brandon, it was a really good game, a hard fought game. Through periods of that one though, we didn’t fight hard enough to score but we found a way to win, and then Saturday and Sunday, I thought we played really well. Both were solid 60 minute efforts.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got things going on Sunday with his 13th of the year to put Red Deer in front 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes.
Second period goals from Byron Froese and Brett Ferguson put Red Deer into a 3-0 lead with 20 minutes left in the contest.
“Swift Current came out hard against us in the third period, and put us back on our heels a bit. They generated some shots and some pressure on us early in the third,” said Wallin, who liked the response he saw from his club when the Broncos started to get some momentum.
“We bent, but didn’t break. We handled it, came back and were able to get that next goal to go up by four and that was huge. That put the game away. All in all, when you come out here and play four games in five nights and only give up two goals against, you’ve got to be pretty pleased with how things went. There was a lot to like about our game so we’re coming home pretty happy campers.”
The game against the Broncos also marked the first time Red Deer was able to pick up a win without Kuemper in the net, and Wallin says Guhle deserved the win.
“I thought Dawson played real well. He looked confident in there and made some good stops when he had to,” said Wallin.
“He had to stay focused and composed because he went through periods where he didn’t see a lot of shots. The Broncos only had 12 after two periods, and he went long stretches without seeing a puck so it was great for him to get a win. It’s nice for him to get a win under his belt that he can feel good about and I thought he had a real solid game for us.”
The Rebels will get the rest of the week to practice before heading to Medicine Hat for a key Central Division match up Friday night.
After that, Red Deer will return home to host the Warriors on Saturday.