The Red Deer Rebels finally snapped the curse and won on home ice 4-1 over the Medicine Hat Tigers.
“You start losing and it can really affect you,” Rebel Mason McCarty said. “I don’t think everyone in the stands and around the city sees how much it bugs us in the room. It is one win and we are going to keep pushing, but it feels good to get out of the slump for sure.”
The Rebels came into Tuesday’s game against the Tigers having not won on their home ice in 87 days.
The Rebels would be in tough against the first in the Central division Tigers, who currently hold a 24-18-5-0 record, with 10 of those wins coming on the road.
Red Deer, who have lost their last 13 games, came out skating hard against the Hat, with the line of Josh Tarzwell, Reese Johnson and Chris Douglas keeping the play in their opponents end.
Unfortunately it would be the Tigers who pounced first when Jaegar White notched his seventh goal of the season just under five minutes into the game.
The teams would play a back and forth game for the rest of the period before the Rebels were able to tie up the score on a sweet dish from River Fahey to Mason McCarty for his team-leading the 23rd goal of the season.
The teams would close out the period locked up with one a piece.
The second period would see the score remain the same, despite some solid chances from Red Deer.
Tiger netminder Michael Bullion absolutely robbed Chris Douglas on a two on one chance late in the period in what was the best chance of the period for either side.
The game would head into third period with plenty to sort out.
“I thought in the first period we were really good,” Rebels Coach Brent Sutter said. “In the second, we got standing around too much early, especially in the first seven or eight minutes but then we got playing better. We played pretty good in the third.”
The third period would play out slow, with neither team able to find a way to capitalize for the majority of the period.
The Rebels would finally bust out from the shadow that had been over this team since October 28th when Mason McCarty deked out his defender to put the Rebels up 2-1 with 3:37 to play.
Rebels captain Grayson Pawlenchuk would add an insurance goal to seal the deal with 2:08 remaining and Kristian Reichel adding an empty netter to out the game well out of reach. The Rebels would go on to win their first game on home ice in over six fortnights.
Sutter said his team was able to capitalize on their opportunities and the guy that needed to produce, did so.
“It is important that our older guys get production and we got that tonight,” he said. “We had three goals scored by two 20-year olds and an empty netter by Reichs. You need that production.”
McCarty was pleased with the way his line showed up.
“I thought we worked hard. In the second we weren’t very good and Brent had a talk with the whole team about cheating and turnovers. In the third we played pretty well.”
Sutter appreciated the effort on the night.
“We stayed with it and at the end of the night, you get rewarded,” he said.
Rebels netminder Ethan Anders would stop 35 shots in the win and the Rebels record would improve to 11-25-3-2.
“Andy played really well,” Sutter added.
The Rebels play two home games this weekend against Kelowna and Lethbridge.