Rebels 6 Tigers 3
The Red Deer Rebels are officially heading to the Western Hockey League playoffs.
The Rebels clinched a spot in the 2022 playoffs thanks to a 6-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday evening at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
Head coach Steve Konowalchuk said “it feels good” to secure a spot in the postseason.
“Coming into this season I certainly believed in the group of guys in (the locker room). I know the staff did, the organization did,” said head coach Steve Konowalchuk.
“It was pretty safe to say before the game we were going to make the playoffs, but it’s nice when you can win to get into playoffs in front of your home crowd. That makes it fun.”
The Rebels have 12 more regular-season games remaining. Red Deer (37-16-2-1) sits second in the Central Division, trailing only the Edmonton Oil Kings, and is the third Western Conference team to book a ticket to the playoffs.
Making the playoffs is just “Step 1,” said Konowalchuk.
“We’ve got to continue to build to get more and more consistent for the playoffs,” he said.
Fresh off of signing an entry-level contract with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, Red Deer forward Arshdeep Bains made an impact early in Friday’s matchup.
Bains drew a tripping call about five minutes into the game. Then on the power play, Bains fired a pass across the ice to teammate Ben King, who slid the puck to Kalan Lind for a tap-in goal – his 14th of the season.
Lind saw some extra ice time Friday due to injuries to Liam Keeler and Jhett Larson.
“I just tried to play my game tonight, be hard around the net, get pucks deep (and) play in a straight line,” said Lind.
Medicine Hat’s Carter Chorney evened things up a minute later by banking the puck off of Rebels defenceman Kyle Masters’ skate and into the net.
The Tigers took the lead at 9:34 of the first when Logan Barlage tipped a point shot past Rebels goaltender Connor Ungar while on the power play.
Lind scored his second of the game at 16:16 of the first when the Medicine Hat centre won the faceoff right back into his own net.
“I was late on the draw, (the Tigers player) won it clean. I turned to stay with my centreman and all of a sudden the puck was in the net. That’s probably one of the easiest goals I’ve ever scored in my career,” Lind said.
Bains scored his 31st of the season in the dying seconds of the first to put Red Deer up 3-2.
A power play blast from King put Red Deer up by two about six minutes into the second period. The goal was King’s 44th of the season.
Rebels defender Christoffer Sedoff fired a wrist shot past Tigers goaltender Garin Bjorklund on a two-man advantage at 14:13 of the second to score his fifth of the season.
Kai Uchacz potted Red Deer’s fourth power-play marker of the game 4:33 into the third period. King picked up his fourth assist of the game on Uchacz’s 11th goal of the season.
Tigers defenceman Gleb Ivanov slid a shot underneath Ungar with 12 minutes left on the clock. That was the last time either team found the back of the net, as Red Deer cruised to the 6-3 win.
The three stars of the game were Arshdeep Bains (1), Ben King (2) and Kalan Lind (3).
Red Deer will head to Medicine Hat for a matchup with the Tigers Saturday night. The Rebels return home to host the Saskatoon Blades this upcoming Tuesday. Puck drop is 7 p.m. at the Peavey Mart Centrium.