Rebels need win to stay alive in playoff chase

The challenge for the Red Deer Rebels is all too obvious. With three games remaining in their regular-season schedule, the Rebels have to win two — and possibly all three — if they hope to punch their ticket to the Western Hockey League playoffs.

The challenge for the Red Deer Rebels is all too obvious.

With three games remaining in their regular-season schedule, the Rebels have to win two — and possibly all three — if they hope to punch their ticket to the Western Hockey League playoffs.

The Rebels head into tonight’s 7 p.m. clash with the Kootenay Ice at the Enmax Centre tied with the Prince Albert Raiders for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with each team having three regular-season games remaining.

Red Deer got some help Tuesday when the Moose Jaw Warriors downed the visiting Raiders 6-3, but fell two points back of the Brandon Wheat Kings, 8-5 winners over the visiting Saskatoon Blades.

Of the three teams battling for the final two post-season berths, Red Deer has the toughest schedule, with tonight’s clash with the Ice and a weekend home-and-home set with the Edmonton Oil Kings. The Raiders, meanwhile, close out with a visit to Regina and a home-and-home against the lowly Blades, and Brandon has two games left with Regina — one at home and one on the road.

Regardless, as Rebels forward Aspen Sterzer admitted Tuesday . . .

“We can’t leave it up to our opponents to lose, it has to be on us. These are a huge three games. Obviously Edmonton is a tough club and Kootenay is as well,” said Sterzer. “It’s a lot of adversity for us to make the playoffs. To get three wins would be huge for us and would basically give us a guarantee of the playoffs.

“I think winning all three games is what we’re looking at here and what we need to do.”

At first glance — or at least for the uninitiated — the Rebels would appear to have an advantage with two of their three remaining games at the Centrium. Unfortunately, the club has been better on the road than at home this season.

Sterzer, acquired from the Kamloops Blazers earlier in the season, can’t explain the Rebels’ home-ice woes but still feels there’s an edge to be found with two games on the friendly surface.

“It’s difficult (to explain Red Deer’s home-ice woes) but at the same time we have home-ice advantage these last three games,” said Sterzer. “We haven’t been the best here all year but we have the fans behind us now and in desperation we’ll pull something together and bring our ‘A’ games against these teams.”

With wins in three of their last four games, the Rebels are on a mild roll, which bodes well at least somewhat for the home stretch.

“We started to play a lot better than when we dropped a whole bunch in a row earlier this season,” said Sterzer.

“We started to pick up our game and started to play more as a team.

“It’s been going a lot better. Obviously our last game was a bit of a letdown (a 5-3 loss Saturday at Medicine Hat). That would have been a huge game for us with P.A. and Brandon playing each other that night. We just have to play our game this week . . . come out hard and work hard and hopefully the wins will come to us.”

In the event that the Rebels miss the playoffs, Sterzer admitted he’ll wonder why considering the clubs’ roster includes the 2013 CHL goaltender of the year in Patrik Bartosak.

“We have a lot of talent and with Patty in net we know he’s going to make big saves for us every night and definitely give us a chance to win,” said Sterzer. “It’s vital for us to have some offensive output too, because we know Patty isn’t going to let in too many goals every night. It’s huge for us to bear down and get pucks to the net and score.”

Rebels

Just Posted

The Red Deer U18AAA Braves hit the field this weekend for their first games of the Norwest League season. (Advocate File photo)
Red Deer’s U18AAA Braves ready to open season this weekend

It’s been more than a year since many Red Deer Minor Baseball… Continue reading

Traffic signal upgrades are planned for May 30 at the intersection of 67th Street and 52nd Avenue. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Traffic light repairs set for 49 Ave. and 51 St. over weekend

Drivers in Red Deer can expect delays at the intersection of 49… Continue reading

Until recently MicKaylehea Kien, of Red Deer, said she has been able to use her electric scooter at the local Tim Horton’s drive-thru. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Red Deer woman on mobility scooter denied service at drive-thru

Ordering inside a safer alternative, says Tim Hortons

Rusty the retriever-cross was found in Clearwater County by an angler on May 4 and was taken to Alberta Animal & Municipal Enforcement Services in Red Deer. (Photo contributed)
Dog likely dumped by owner in central Alberta rescued

Dog found in remote area of Clearwater County finds new home

Huzaifa (left), Saif (middle) and Zoya (right) were among the 60 or so Red Deerians who participated in a vigil for the victims of a recent terrorist attack that killed four people in London Ont. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer vigil honours victims of London, Ont. terrorist attack

About 60 people gathered at the corner of 49 Ave. and 50… Continue reading

Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the sixth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Friday, June 11, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Verdugo, Red Sox rally from 4 down, top Blue Jays 6-5 in 9th

Verdugo, Red Sox rally from 4 down, top Blue Jays 6-5 in 9th

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) celebrates with teammates after of Game 6 in an NHL hockey second-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. The Islanders won 6-2. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
‘New York Saints’ moniker catches on during Islanders run

‘New York Saints’ moniker catches on during Islanders run

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price shakes hands with his Winnipeg Jets counterpart Connor Hellebuyck following overtime NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Montreal, Monday, June 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Paul Maurice says he’s proud of the job Jets coaches did this year

Paul Maurice says he’s proud of the job Jets coaches did this year

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price eyes a flying puck during first-period NHL Stanley Cup playoff action against the Toronto Maple Leafs, in Montreal, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
‘We believe in ourselves’: Canadiens comfortable as underdogs against Golden Knights

‘We believe in ourselves’: Canadiens comfortable as underdogs against Golden Knights

NDP member of Parliament Lindsay Mathyssen rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, April 26, 2021. Federal lawmakers are calling on the government to convene an emergency summit on Islamophobia by the end of July. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
MPs move to convene emergency Islamophobia summit before August

MPs move to convene emergency Islamophobia summit before August

Liberal MP Irwin Cotler holds a press conference in the foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa on Thursday, March 26, 2015. The federal government is convening an emergency summit on antisemitism even as it faces criticism for welcoming an anti-Israel MP into the ranks of the governing Liberals.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals convene antisemitism summit amid concerns over new MP’s views on Israel

Liberals convene antisemitism summit amid concerns over new MP’s views on Israel

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Most Read