The Red Deer Rebels celebrate Jayden Grubbe's first goal of the 2020-21 WHL season. Friday was the Rebels' home opener and the first game of the shortened 24-game season, which will include only Alberta teams. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)

Grubbe scores two, Red Deer Rebels crush Swift Current Broncos

Rebels clinch home ice in first round of WHL Playoffs

Rebels 6 Broncos 2

It was a big weekend for the Red Deer Rebels as they continue to gear up for the Western Hockey League playoffs.

Captain Jayden Grubbe scored twice as the Red Deer Rebels cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos Saturday evening at the Peavey Mart Centrium. The win also clinched home-ice advantage for the Rebels in the first round of the WHL playoffs.

It came a night after a 3-0 home win over the Medicine Hat Tigers the night prior. Last weekend, Red Deer lost two matchups to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, which is a team they could potentially see in the playoffs.

Grubbe said this weekend was “big” for the Rebels.

“It’s important we get back to our identity here,” he said after Saturday’s game, where he scored the game-winning goal.

“Everyone was ready to go right from the start.”

Rebels forward Arshdeep Bains opened the scoring with his 36th goal of the season 9:11 into the opening period and Kalan Lind scored his 19th of the season just 24 seconds later to extend their team’s lead.

“They were ready to start – skating, forechecking, hitting. I thought (the Rebels players) moved the puck well,” said Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk.

“If they were going to come in our end, we made them have to grind and work for the puck. I think for the most part we were coming back hard and taking away the middle of the ice. We ended up have the puck more because we were working hard.”

Grubbe beat Broncos goaltender Reid Dyck at 14:19 of the first.

Rebels defenceman Blake Gustafson scored his third goal of the year a few minutes into the second period. Swift Current players Eric Van Impe and Josh Davies scored to bring their team within two, but Grubbe answered back for Red Deer with his 12th goal of the year and second of the game.

“Our goal is all four lines are going and all six (defencemen) are contributing, coming at them in layers and being hard to play against,” said Grubbe.

Grubbe said his line has found success this year when they play physically.

“That’s the number one thing for us – using our speed and using our size. From that we create chances low and get to the net,” he said.

Rebels goaltender Chase Coward won his second game in as many nights, stopping 21 of 23 shots. Dyck stopped 32 of 38 for the Broncos.

The three stars were Jayden Grubbe (1), Kai Uchacz (2) and Kalan Lind (3).

The Rebels have a significant test this upcoming weekend when they play the Central Division-leading Edmonton Oil Kings twice. The Rebels host the Oil Kings Saturday at Peavey Mart Centrium. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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