Rebels sharper than Blades

Could these be the real Red Deer Rebels, a team that is looking more and more like a legitimate Memorial Cup tournament host? The Rebels posted their fourth consecutive Western Hockey League triumph Wednesday at Saskatoon, blanking the Blades 5-0 before 3,445 fans at the SaskTel Centre.

SASKATOON — Could these be the real Red Deer Rebels, a team that is looking more and more like a legitimate Memorial Cup tournament host?

The Rebels posted their fourth consecutive Western Hockey League triumph Wednesday at Saskatoon, blanking the Blades 5-0 before 3,445 fans at the SaskTel Centre.

Coupled with Tuesday’s 4-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders, the Rebels were 2-0 on their mini trip into Saskatchewan and were ultra-impressive in the process, particularly Wednesday evening.

“We were solid and steady. We didn’t give up much and capitalized on our opportunities,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “We played a real solid game.”

Ivan Nikolishin’s 23rd goal of the season, a power-play marker at 17:01 of the opening frame, was the eventual winner. Haydn Fleury and Nikolishin, again, connected late in the second period.

Adam Helekwa potted a power-play goal at 6:30 of the final stanza and rookie Austin Pratt rounded out the Red Deer scoring just under 10 minutes later.

Rylan Toth turned aside 27 shots to record his fourth shutout of the season. Brock Hamm made 33 saves for the hosts.

“We didn’t give up a whole lot. I thought the kids played hard and played well,” said Sutter.

Toth has allowed just three goals — all in Tuesday’s win at Prince Albert — in his last three games, a welcome sign that he’s playing with confidence.

“He made the saves when we had to get them tonight. They (Blades) had a few chances and Tother shut the door on them,” said Sutter. “We need that kind of goaltending.

“Since Christmas he’s been pretty good. He won the game against Edmonton at home (on Dec. 27) although he might have wished he had been a little better. But he responded well against Brandon (in a 10-0 win last Saturday) and now on this road trip he’s been good.

“He’s had four decent outings since Christmas.”

The Rebels were slated to arrive home at roughly 2:30 a.m. today. The players will be on the ice this afternoon at the Centrium to prepare for Friday’s clash against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The two teams are tied for top spot in the Eastern Conference and the ‘Canes are 3-0 versus the Rebels this season.

“They’ve certainly been the better team the three games we’ve played them,” said Sutter. “If we want to finish first (in the Central Division and Eastern Conference) we have to beat the best teams.”

Red Deer also hosts the Vancouver Giants Saturday at 7 p.m.

• The three stars Wednesday were (1) Nikolishin, (2) Fleury and (3) Toth … The Rebels were two-for-four on the power play, the Blades zero-for-five.

Just Posted

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Red Deer artist highlights the dinosaur connection of Alberta birds

Jeff Powers is fascinated by winged creatures

Murder charges laid against woman from the Sunchild First Nation

The 25-year-old female victim was found dead on Dec. 12

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

McDavid, Draisaitl with three points each to lead Oiles over Flyers

Oilers 4, Flyers 1 EDMONTON — Connor McDavid had two goals and… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Councillors in Toronto, Ottawa vote to allow retail cannabis stores

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto have voted to allow retail pot shops… Continue reading

Most Read