Rebels have tough hole to climb out of

The Red Deer Rebels know what they have to do. “It’s pretty defined now, isn’t it,” said GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “Our backs are against the wall. We put ourselves in this spot to some degree, having leads in Brandon and not bearing down in the last seven to eight minutes of the games and blowing leads.”

The Red Deer Rebels know what they have to do.

“It’s pretty defined now, isn’t it,” said GM/head coach Brent Sutter.

“Our backs are against the wall. We put ourselves in this spot to some degree, having leads in Brandon and not bearing down in the last seven to eight minutes of the games and blowing leads.”

Down 3-1 in the best-of-seven Western Hockey League Eastern Conference Final to the Brandon Wheat Kings, the Rebels will have to win on the road tonight to stay alive.

They haven’t won on the road since April 1, in their opening round series against the Calgary Hitmen. Up until Wednesday night, the Rebels hadn’t lost on home ice since March 26, also against the Hitmen. But the loss on Wednesday at the Centrium, 4-2 to the Wheat Kings, stung the Rebels squad who had used home ice to lift them through a tough seven game series against the Regina Pats.

Now, the prospect of a long rest leading up to the 2016 Memorial Cup in Red Deer is sinking in. As hosts, the Rebels will play in the tournament, but Sutter was less than enthusiastic at the prospect of being eliminated.

“We have to win or we sit around for two-and-a-half weeks doing two-a-days (practices) at 6:30 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon until the Memorial Cup,” said Sutter. “The other teams are going to be in shape and you’re not going to be in shape by practicing from 3 to 4:30 every day, you’re going to have to do a hell of a lot extra.”

The Rebels have comeback from a 3-1 series deficit once in the team’s history. The 2001-02 Rebels were down to the Brandon Wheat Kings 3-1 in the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference Final when they rattled off three straight wins, including a double OT win.

With demons to exorcise on the road, the Rebels can take solace in the fact they competed with the Wheat Kings in both road games, even having leads late. But they haven’t been able to close out games on the road this series.

“We responded well in Game 3, but we didn’t respond in Game 4,” said Sutter. “Now we have to go there and we have to regroup. There’s only one way to play in this situation and that’s all-out. You have to treat it like it’s Game 7, it’s a do-or-die situation for us.”

Game 5 is scheduled for tonight FRIDAY in Brandon. Puck drop is at 6:30 p.m.

Notes: Rebels Goalie Rylan Toth has averaged 31.5 saves per game against the Wheat Kings, punctuated by a 39-save performance on Wednesday … Adam Helewka leads the Rebels with nine goals and nine assists, Jake DeBrusk is second with seven goals and nine assists. Luke Philp (four goals, nine assists) and Michael Spacek (three goals, ten assists) are tied for third in team scoring with 13 points each … After struggling against the Pats, the Rebels penalty kill has clicked against the Wheat Kings. They have allowed only two goals on 13 power plays … Wheat Kings’ Centres John Quenneville (12 goals 10 assists), Tim McGauley (eight goals, 13 assists, Reid Duke (six goals, 14 assists) and Nolan Patrick (seven goals 12 assists) are second through fifth in WHL playoff scoring.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today, some complain of long lines

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia are heading to the polls today… Continue reading

Kennedy Stewart named mayor of Vancouver; one of several B.C. turnovers

VANCOUVER — Former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart has won a neck-and-neck… Continue reading

‘In our bloodline:’ Land-based learning links curriculum with Indigenous culture

REGINA — A school day for six-year-old Hunter Sasakamoose can start with… Continue reading

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Most Read