EXCITING VISIT- Young pond hockey players listen as Red Deer Rebel Brett Ferguson coaches them recently. The Rebels visited local outdoor rinks teaching youngsters the joys of hockey and even played a few games.

Rebels garner longest winning streak in years

You can make it eight wins in a row for the Red Deer Rebels.

Playing their second consecutive three games in three nights set, the Rebels ran the table this past weekend, winning twice on the road and once at home to put together their longest winning streak since 2006-2007, when they won seven straight.

Friday night, the Rebels went into Medicine Hat having not won there since November 2006 and left Southern Alberta with a 5-3 win.

Saturday night, netminder Darcy Kuemper shutout Moose Jaw for the third time this season, as Red Deer beat the visiting Warriors 3-0.

For Kuemper, it was his league leading ninth shutout of the season, and the 15th of his career, both of which are franchise records.

The boys then hit the road to B.C. for a big Central Division match up against Kootenay, and skated out the Cranbrook Rec-Plex with a 6-4 win.

“It was a gutsy win for sure,” said Rebels head coach and vice president of hockey operations Jesse Wallin after Sunday’s win.

“I thought the early going was tough sledding. Climbing off the bus and playing the third of three against a fresh team. That was certainly a challenge coming in.”

It was the Ice getting things going first when Brayden McNabb beat Kuemper just 30 seconds into the contest to make it 1-0 for the home side.

But John Persson, with his first of three on the night, would get Red Deer into a 1-1 tie just over a minute later.

“We gave up a goal early, and I thought we were kind of stuck in the mud, which was to be expected to a certain extent. Johnny’s power play goal to even it at 1-1 was huge, gave us a bit of a spark,” said Wallin, who watched his team go four for 10 on the power play.

“I thought the first period was a back and forth affair and I thought we settled down and got a bit more going in the second. It was another hard fought period, and we managed to get another power play goal to even it up heading into the third period.

“In the third, I thought we really turned it on. We capitalized on a couple of opportunities. Again, our power play was big for us, but our penalty kill was key for us at times as well. It was just a real gutsy, hard fought effort and overall, I was pleased with our team.”

The line of Persson (three goals), Andrej Kudrna (two goals and three assists) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (four assists) combined for 12 points against the Ice, a stat not lost on the head coach.

“They’re skilled guys, and they really executed well,” said Wallin.

“The last few games, even our road trip, our powerplay didn’t get a lot going for us. It wasn’t that they weren’t getting chances or that they weren’t playing well, they just didn’t seem to be getting the bounces. Andrej had been a little bit snake-bitten around the net. He’d had some great opportunities in Brandon and in Regina and they just weren’t going in for him.

“So it was kind of nice to seem them break free and I think it was kind of overdue for them.”

With the wins, Red Deer now has 32 wins on the year, and sits in first place in Central Division, and second in the Eastern Conference.

They are also six games shy of matching the franchise record for consecutive wins, set at 14 in a row back in 2001-2002.

The Rebels have another busy week ahead of them, as they host Lethbridge tonight, Edmonton on Friday, and Calgary on Saturday.

sports@big105.fm

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