Focusing on D

Like taking a large swig of mouthwash, the Red Deer Rebels can eliminate the sour taste in their mouths emanating from Friday’s weak performance with a home-ice victory tonight over the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Like taking a large swig of mouthwash, the Red Deer Rebels can eliminate the sour taste in their mouths emanating from Friday’s weak performance with a home-ice victory tonight over the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Rebels were dominated by the Saskatoon Blades in a 6-3 loss to the visitors on Friday and were back at work on Saturday morning with extra emphasis placed on their defensive zone play, an area in which they were owned by the Blades.

“We need to be stronger and harder to play against in our zone. I think that’s obvious,” said Red Deer captain and veteran defenceman Colin Archer, following the morning practice session.

The Rebels can take solace in the fact that they already own a victory over the Wheat Kings, a 6-3 triumph in Brandon on Oct. 2. Another win tonight would help erase the memories of Friday’s nightmare.

“We have a chance to redeem ourselves and we have our minds set on (tonight’s) game. We beat (the Wheat Kings) once, we can do it again,” Archer insisted.

The Rebels, however, haven’t tasted success since whipping the Wheaties. Friday’s setback, in fact, was their third in succession.

“It’s frustrating because we know how we can play,” said Archer.

“We just need to get a consistent effort out of everyone. We can play with and beat the best teams in the league, and we feel that we’re one of those teams. We just have to get everyone going.”

The Rebels will again be without two of their top players, with defenceman Alex Petrovic out another month with a high ankle sprain and centre Landon Ferraro likely to miss another week with a knee injury.

The team has some depth up front this season, but can’t really afford the loss of Petrovic.

“He’s a guy who logs a lot of minutes. He’s a great player and a great guy to have on the team,” said Archer, in reference to the 17-year-old rearguard, a candidate to be nabbed in the first two rounds of next year’s NHL entry draft.

“But injuries happen. Alex is out for a while and the other guys on defence have to step up and help out with him being gone.”

Placing a little extra sense of urgency on the Rebels situation is the recent resurgence of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who moved into a fifth-place tie with Red Deer in the Central Division with Friday’s 5-2 win over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. It was the third consecutive win for the ‘Canes, who along with the Rebels possess a 3-6-0-0 record.

The Kootenay Ice, meanwhile, moved two points clear of the Rebels with a 7-3 win at Brandon.

“The points now means as much as they do at the end of the season,” said Archer. “We have to get going now.”

The Rebels have seven more home games this month, including meetings with the Portland Winterhawks and Chilliwack Bruins next Friday and Saturday.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

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

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

Barry Cooper: Separation has become a real possibility, thanks to Ottawa’s abuses

In the past couple of weeks, a retired senior oil executive, Gwyn… Continue reading

Most Read