Rebels looking to stop Blades’ streak

As the 2013 Memorial Cup tournament hosts, the Saskatoon Blades had to eventually emerge as a Western Hockey League power. Although GM/head coach Lorne Molleken negotiated numerous trades to give his club more depth and star power with the likes of centre Brenden Walker and winger Michael Ferland, the Blades stumbled through the first three to four months of the season but now haven’t lost since falling 4-2 to the defending champion Edmonton Oil Kings Jan. 23.

As the 2013 Memorial Cup tournament hosts, the Saskatoon Blades had to eventually emerge as a Western Hockey League power.

Although GM/head coach Lorne Molleken negotiated numerous trades to give his club more depth and star power with the likes of centre Brenden Walker and winger Michael Ferland, the Blades stumbled through the first three to four months of the season but now haven’t lost since falling 4-2 to the defending champion Edmonton Oil Kings Jan. 23.

That’s 15 wins in succession, a streak the Red Deer Rebels have every intention of halting when the clubs tangle tonight at the Centrium (7 p.m. start).

“We always knew they were a good team. Really, the whole league knew it was just a matter of time before they got it together,” Rebels overage defenceman Brandon Underwood said Monday. “(But) I don’t know if we thought they’d put together that kind of a winning streak. Tomorrow’s game is going to be as close to a playoff game as we’ve had all year.”

Not only would the Rebels snap the Blades’ long and impressive run with a victory tonight, but they would also complete a sweep of the four-game series.

“There’s a pretty big rivalry between our two teams,” said Underwood. “With us taking the first three games we want to get the sweep and I’m sure they want to beat us just as badly as we want to beat them.”

That being said, Underwood cautioned that the Rebels can’t be too caught up with the Blades.

“We can’t really think about them too much,” he said. “We’re the kind of team that if we play our style, especially in our own rink, we seem to have success.”

That’s certainly been the case as of late. Red Deer posted a clutch 4-2 win over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders Saturday with a huge, three-goal third-period performance.

“P.A. came out and started to play the run and gun game they like to play,” said Underwood. “We got down 2-0 early, then kind of refocused and got back to playing Rebels hockey. That’s what got us the win.

“So we can’t really worry about the opponent too much, especially at this time of the year. You have to worry about your own game first and everything else will hopefully fall into place.”

Underwood, a California native who was acquired from the Regina Pats last September, is part of a Rebels blueline crew that has gradually improved under the direction of assistant coach Bryce Thoma and associate coach Jeff Truitt, who was hired in November.

Truitt is a seasoned mentor with head coaching experience in both the WHL and the American League. His guidance has helped Underwood elevate his game in recent weeks.

“Jeff has been awesome, he’s been a great coach,” said the six-foot-three, 220-pound rearguard. “I’ve learned a lot from him even with this being my last year (in the WHL). He’s worked with me a lot and he’s also really good with the young guys.

“He’s a good guy first and foremost and he’s good with the guys . . . he knows how to teach young adults like we are. Often it’s just the little things with Jeff. He doesn’t let us off the hook, he holds us accountable when we need to play better and he’s also positive when we do play well.

“He’s a good coach and I couldn’t be happier having him with the team.”

Just Posted

Stolen vehicle and gun seized in Blackfalds

Blackfalds man to appear in court

Blood moon over Red Deer

Moon captures attention

China grants Ivanka Trump 5 trademarks amid trade talks

SHANGHAI — The Chinese government has granted Ivanka Trump’s company preliminary approval… Continue reading

Few signs of breakthrough as May set to unveil Brexit Plan B

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May was set to unveil her new… Continue reading

Winter storm brings snow, rain, wind and cold to Eastern, Central Canada

A powerful winter storm that brought heavy rain and snow to much… Continue reading

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Olympian Adam van Koeverden wins federal Liberal nomination in Ontario riding

MILTON, Ont. — Former Olympic flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden will be carrying… Continue reading

World champion Osmond says it’s “really nice” not to know what future holds

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

DALLAS — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for… Continue reading

UK police speak to Prince Philip about not wearing seatbelt

LONDON — British police have spoken with Prince Philip after the husband… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

Most Read