Array

Array

Goaltending keeps Rebels at bay

When it rains, it pours, and when it snows . . . it’s a blizzard. The Red Deer Rebels’ current situation is akin to a bad weather report. But at least a forecast will pretty much guarantee an end to nasty weather, while it’s totally up to the Rebels to put the brakes on their losing skid. The Rebels suffered their fourth consecutive WHL setback Saturday night before a recorded crowd of 5,691 at the Enmax Centrium, falling 3-2 in overtime to the Prince George Cougars despite outshooting the visitors 42-26 and outplaying their guests through most of the contest.

When it rains, it pours, and when it snows . . . it’s a blizzard.

The Red Deer Rebels’ current situation is akin to a bad weather report. But at least a forecast will pretty much guarantee an end to nasty weather, while it’s totally up to the Rebels to put the brakes on their losing skid.

The Rebels suffered their fourth consecutive WHL setback Saturday night before a recorded crowd of 5,691 at the Enmax Centrium, falling 3-2 in overtime to the Prince George Cougars despite outshooting the visitors 42-26 and outplaying their guests through most of the contest.

“That’s the way it works right now, the way things have been going,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “We’re having a tough time getting wins, a tough time scoring some goals.

“We really dominated this team here tonight . . . outplayed them in basically every category. Their goaltender played outstanding. Without question, he was certainly the difference.”

Cougars netminder Tavin Grant made 40 saves while posting just his third victory of the season. Included in his night’s work were 16 first-period stops and 14 in the third period, and while the 16-year-old rookie faced just 10 shots in the second, his teammates were on their heels pretty much the entire stanza.

“We had an enormous amount of scoring chances tonight but didn’t capitalize on them,” said Sutter. “In the second period they had just under four minutes of time in our zone, but we make a couple of miscues and it ends up in our net.”

The Rebels boss was referring to a pair of middle-frame markers by Cougars forwards Kody McDonald, who deflected Josh Anderson’s point shot at 4:14, and Zach Pochiro, who took a corner pass from Chase Witala while all alone at the side of net and quickly whipped the puck past Red Deer netminder Taz Burman 12 and a half minutes later.

The goals gave the visitors a 2-1 lead that held up until Brooks Maxwell evened the count with a third-period power play tally, beating Grant to the top corner from the left faceoff circle.

Unfortunately for the hosts, Presten Kopeck was flagged for interference with 52 seconds remaining in regulation time and the Cougars struck in overtime just as the Rebels forward was getting back into the play. Witala pulled the trigger on the winner at 1:15 of overtime, connecting with a rapid volley from the bottom of the circle.

“I got a nice pass from the point and decided to try a one-timer,” said Witala, the Cougar’s’ top scorer this season with 28 goals. “I got lucky when it found its way in. It felt pretty good.”

The victory, the Cougars’ second in two nights following a 4-2 upset of Medicine Hat, kept the club in a tight, three-team race — including Kamloops and Vancouver — for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

“We’re right there, we just have to keep fighting for our lives,” said Witala. “These two wins are huge for our confidence. We had that stretch where we were losing a lot but now we’re finding ways to win.”

While Grant came into the game with unimpressive stats — including a 4.97 goals-against average and .826 save percentage — he’s a valuable member of the team, Witala insisted.

“He’s been spectacular for us. He’s probably the hardest-working guy on the team,” said the Cougars sniper. “He’s not playing much this season but he works hard in practice and in the gym to get better.

“He’s actually won us a few games this season. This wasn’t his first good game.”

Burman, meanwhile, made 23 saves in a rare start — getting the call when Rylan Toth fell sick prior to the game — and couldn’t be faulted on any other the three shots that eluded him.

“We had to make a call in warm-up and went with Tazzer and I thought he played really well,” said Sutter.

Now his players have to get back on a winning path, starting with tonight’s road game versus the Prince Albert Raiders, their initial opponents on a four-game Saskatchewan trip that includes stops in Saskatoon, Swift Current and Regina on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

“We’re having a tough time right now and we have to find a way to get over that,” said Sutter. “This adversity, as I said before, will be good for us, but we have to get back in the win column.

“This obviously wasn’t the weekend we wanted at home, getting just one point out of a possible four,” added Sutter, whose club fell 2-1 to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday. “We played probably 40 excellent minutes last night and didn’t get any points. Tonight we play a full game and get one point out of it. But it is what it is, we just have to keep our heads up and keep pushing here and we’ll get out of it.”

• Rookie Jeff de Wit notched his third goal of the season to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes Saturday . . . The Rebels headed east Monday without captain Conner Bleackley, who sat out his third consecutive game Saturday with a lower-body injury.

Rebels

Just Posted

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

Red Deer Public Schools is projecting a $4-million budget deficit for 2021-22 school year. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools prepares $124-million budget

$1 million COVID recovery plan to assist students

(Black Press file photo).
Central Alberta’s ‘screen-based storytellers’ can apply for $5,000 grants

Calling all filmmakers, gamers, educators, and videographers… TELUS STORYHIVE released its first… Continue reading

Some routes on the Red Deer transit system will start earlier next week. (Advocate File Photo)
Red Deer transit gets earlier start

Transit service in Red Deer will start earlier for some routes starting… Continue reading

Most members of Red Deer city council — seen here in this 2018 photo — have received their first shot against COVID-19. Mayor Tara Veer declined to say whether she did get a shot, but said she supports the vaccination program. (Advocate file photo)
Did everyone on Red Deer city council receive their vaccine shot? Read on

Most of Red Deer’s civic leaders have confirmed they received their first… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Adam Feller reacts as he gets his Pfizer-BioNTech shot at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Montreal. Quebec has become the latest province to stop giving Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as a first dose.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Ontario keeps stay-at-home order; Quebec pauses Oxford-AstraZeneca shots

Ontario has announced it’s keeping its stay-at-home order in place until at… Continue reading

The flag of the Supreme Court of Canada flies outside the building following a ceremony in Ottawa, Monday March 15, 2021. The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially winning the Canadian Derby more than three years ago might have run out of legal room to reclaim the title. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from horse owners over derby dispute

OTTAWA — The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially… Continue reading

People take part in a protest called 'Justice for Joyce' in Montreal, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, where they demanded justice for Joyce Echaquan and an end to systemic racism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Quebec coroner’s inquest into death of Joyce Echaquan begins as her family testifies

MONTREAL — The husband of an Indigenous woman who was subjected to… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault, centre, speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec tables revamp of French-language law, toughens rules for businesses, schools

MONTREAL — The Quebec government reasserted the right of Quebecers to live… Continue reading

Permanent residency
Canada announces new pathway to permanent residency for families of crash victims

Ottawa is launching a new policy to help the families of victims… Continue reading

Co-founders Craig (left) and Marc Kielburger introduce Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau as they appear at the WE Day celebrations in Ottawa on November 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ethics watchdog: PM didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, but Morneau did

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not breach the Conflict of… Continue reading

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore, center, celebrates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Crew with teammates from left, forward Tsubasa Endoh, defender Omar Gonzalez and forward Patrick Mullins during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Bradley, Altidore scores in Toronto FC’s 2-0 win over Crew

ORLANDO, Fla (AP) — Michael Bradley had a goal and an assist,… Continue reading

A football with the CFL logo sits on a chair during a press conference in Winnipeg, Friday, November 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Former defensive lineman Klassen tackling retirement as he did opposing quarterbacks

Klassen spent seven CFL seasons with Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa

Most Read