‘Gutsy road win’

Just prior to the Red Deer Rebels’ road-trip ending contest against the Chilliwack Bruins on Saturday evening, head coach Jesse Wallin reminded his troops, at least those charges who were around last season, of a similar meeting with the Bruins in January.

Just prior to the Red Deer Rebels’ road-trip ending contest against the Chilliwack Bruins on Saturday evening, head coach Jesse Wallin reminded his troops, at least those charges who were around last season, of a similar meeting with the Bruins in January.

“We had a bad game when we finished a trip in Chilliwack last year. We didn’t play very well at all (in a 5-3 loss) and it made for a long trip home,” Wallin said on Sunday night, roughly nine hours after the team’s 11 a.m. arrival back in Red Deer.

This time, the overnight jaunt was more enjoyable, with the Rebels coming off a 5-2 win in which Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tallied twice and Kraymer Barnstable turned aside 34 shots.

But, in Wallin’s eyes, the victory was about so much more than just individual efforts.

“Barney made some key saves, some timely saves. It wasn’t our best game but I didn’t think we played poorly, either,” said Wallin. “I would term it as a very gutsy road win at the end of a trip and against a team that hadn’t played the night before.”

“They (Bruins) came at us hard early in the game,” added Wallin, in reference to the Ryan Howse tally that gave the home team a lead at the 4:57 mark. “But we found a way to overcome that and dug in. We had guys blocking shots and taking hits to make plays. They tried to play really physical against us and wear us down, but our guys stuck together and gutted out a win.

“It comes down to mental toughness and guts. You know it’s the end of the trip, you’re tired and looking forward to getting home. But you have to overcome that and find a way to stay focused and play that game.”

The Rebels, who were up 3-1 after one period and 4-2 after 40 minutes, got additional goals from Colten Mayor, Landon Ferraro and Nathan Green, who scored into an empty net with Red Deer short-handed.

The positive result allowed the Rebels to complete their five-game B.C. trip with a 3-2 slate, and came on the heels of the club’s worst outing, a 4-1 loss to the Giants on Friday night. The Rebels were actually in decent shape through the first half of the Vancouver contest, but then coughed up goals just 19 seconds apart to fall behind 3-1.

“Their third goal really seemed to get the crowd going,” said Wallin, in reference to the impressive gathering of 9,836 at Pacific Coliseum. “The fans got excited and we seemed to get rattled. That was a new experience for a lot of guys, playing in that big building in front of a big crowd.

“All of sudden we seemed intimidated and really got away from our game. During the last five minutes of the second period we were really back on our heels and never really recovered from that.”

However, all was forgiven when the Rebels chilled the Bruins the next night. And besides, the team’s bad moments during the seven-day excursion were few and far between.

“Outside of parts of the Vancouver game and the first 10 minutes of the Kamloops game when we stood around before we got going (and eventually won 7-4), we played really solid hockey,” said Wallin.

The Rebels boss found Saturday’s victory to be the most fulfilling of the troika of triumphs.

“I really liked the way we played as a team in that game,” he said. “It was just a really solid team effort where everyone banded together to find a way to win, and that’s what you like to see from your club. Some games you have to win ugly and we talked about that before last night’s game. Everyone paid the price, everyone was on the same page and everyone worked together and was willing to do whatever it took to win that hockey game.”

Now, the coach will challenge his players to relive the Saturday night experience through the remainder of the WHL season.

“That’s the essence of a team sport — relying on one another to have success, and our guys did that on the trip. They got a real taste of that and hopefully they can continue to move forward that way,” said Wallin.

Next up for the Rebels? The Spokane Chiefs will visit the Centrium on Saturday.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Patient information breach at Red Deer hospital

3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly

An Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Air Canada agrees to $5.9-billion aid package, giving Ottawa equity stake in airline

$1.4 billion earmarked to help reimburse thousands of customers

Innisfail RCMP say Brandon Pitts is missing. (Photo contributed)
Missing central Alberta man

Innisfail RCMP request public’s help

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Yukon Premier Sandy Silver as Liberal on Wednesday February 8, 2017 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon headed for minority government as two main parties in a tie

Liberals came into the election looking to build on their surprise 2016 majority win

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Sajjan took aim at recent Chinese military expansions into the South China Sea this evening even as he faced questions about the Liberal government’s ties to Beijing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Sajjan targets Chinese claims in South China Sea, battles Tories over Beijing ties

HMCS Calgary shadowed for at least part of the voyage as it passed near the disputed Spratly Islands

Hindu devotees wearing face masks as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus stand in a queue to offer prayers inside a temple dedicated to goddess Kali in Jammu, India, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. New infections have surged in the past month and India has now reported over 13.6 million cases — pushing its toll past Brazil, and making it second only to the United States. In the past 24 hours, over 160,000 new infections have been detected and experts fear that the worst is yet to come. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Johnson & Johnson delays shot rollout in Europe

BERLIN — Johnson & Johnson says it is delaying the rollout of… Continue reading

Restaurant workers and restaurant delivery workers wait in line to sign up for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine site, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in the Sunset Park neighborhood of New York. The mobile vaccination effort includes two buses equipped with four to six vaccinators each, delivering the COVID-19 vaccine directly to communities most in need. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose… Continue reading

FILE-Team Canada’s Meaghan Mikkelson fights for control of the puck with U.S.A.’s Hayley Scamurra during third period of Women’s Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s national teams, hopes a Rivalry Series against the United States can happen this winter.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer
Canadian women’s hockey team to open selection camp in Nova Scotia

Six goaltenders, 15 defenders and 26 forwards will vie for spots on Canada’s 23-player roster

FILE - Rhian Wilkinson, left, and Melissa Tancredi of Canada’s women’s soccer team attend a news conference in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 to announce their retirement from the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canadian international Rhian Wilkinson now part of England coaching setup

Wilkinson left Canada Soccer in January to join interim England head coach Hege Riise as an assistant

Canadian actor/producer/director Jay Baruchel is photographed at the 5 Drive-In Theatre in Oakville, Ont., ahead of the premier of Baruchel’s movie Random Acts of Violence, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Jay Baruchel to host Amazon Prime Video’s ‘LOL: Last One Laughing Canada’

Final comedian left standing wins a grand prize for a charity of their choice

Letter: Leaders like MLA Jason Stephan should work towards greater good

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan talks about the devastating social and… Continue reading

Opinion: Women, hit hardest by pandemic, key to economic recovery

Events of the past year have laid bare the many disparities and… Continue reading

Most Read