Lethbridge Hurricanes Jordy Bellerive celebrates a short-handed goal with teammate Ryan Vandervlis on Tuesday in Game 7 at the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge. (Photo by Byron Hackett/ Advocate Staff)

Hurricanes eliminate Rebels from WHL playoffs in Game 7

The Red Deer Rebels season is over

LETHBRIDGE- The Red Deer Rebels season is over.

One win away from closing out their first round WHL playoff series with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Red Deer lost three straight games including a 6-2 contest in Game 7.

It was the first time in franchise history Lethbridge had come back from a 3-1 series deficit.

The Hurricanes completed the comeback with a dominant win in the series finale between the central division rivals and won their first playoff series since 2009.

“It’s pretty exciting. Obviously we’re going to enjoy this,” said Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio.

“Very proud of the guys. They worked real hard. We were in a tough spot. We had a decision to make. Work hard and get back into this thing. Real proud of how the guys stuck together and found a way.”

It came on the strength of a re-awakened power play that scored twice in the opening 10 minutes and four times on the night.

“We lost that special teams battle early on in the series and it was really starting to hurt us,”Kisio said.

“We had a lot of power play opportunities that we didn’t score on. We made some adjustments, I thought the guys did a great job getting a couple of goals early to get us going.”

Lethbridge scored two first period goals a minute apart on consecutive power plays including just one goal twenty seconds into a two-man advantage to open the scoring.

“It started right with the penalties in the first period. We get down one man and then all of a sudden we take a second one and their power play takes over,” Rebels associate coach Jeff Truitt said.

“We were chasing the game from then on. I think that was the start of it. Our discipline wasn’t good enough tonight against a very good team who has a very good power play.”

Brennan Menell got the first for Lethbridge with a shot from the point and then quickly Giorgio Estephan notched his second of the playoffs and seventh point in four games.

The Rebels forecheck was strong most of the game and captain Adam Musil forced a turnover late in the first that landed on Lane Zablocki’s stick and the 18-year-old made no mistake with his sixth of the playoffs.

Briefly, with 51 seconds left in the opening frame there was hope for Red Deer after the Zablocki goal, but 22 seconds later Red Deer product Ryan Vandervlis made it 3-1 Hurricanes.

“We had to address that after we score a goal, we’re going to have to have a good shift afterwards. Don’t want to give up a goal like we have,” Truitt said.

“It seemed like almost every night in this series once we got up, or we were close, we let them right back in again.”

Jordy Bellerive tipped home a shorthanded marker after the Rebels were pressing on the power play midway through the second.

When the Rebels did push back down 4-1 in the second, Hurricanes goalie Stuart Skinner was equal to the task swallowing up rebound after rebound. Skinner made 19 saves in the middle frame.

“You have to give him credit, he played a good game. We were throwing pucks as much as we could there to create a bit of chaos. He came up big a number of times and that’s what you need at this time of the season,” Truitt said.

Brandon Hagel blasted a wrist shot from the top of the circle that eluded Skinner early in the third to cut the deficit to 4-2.

The Hurricanes added two power play goals midway through the third.

The capacity crowd in the ENMAX Centre was raucous all night and the Rebels were never able to eliminate the home fans from the equation.

“It’s the loudest I’ve heard it. It was absolutely rocking. Talking to some of the guys walking out before the game, it was giving them chills. We could hear how loud it was. As always these fans are crazy,” Kisio said.

Vandervlis scored his second of the night, another power play goal to essentially ice the Rebels chances at a comeback. He played a key role in eliminating his hometown team with a four-point game including two goals.

“It’s cool, playing at the Centrium [in Red Deer] it was nice to get that goal in game six. Never scored in the hometown so that was pretty cool,” he said.

Kisio also said the play of his veteran forward was a difference maker in the series.

“He was an absolute stud tonight. He stepped up and played some big minutes for us. You need those guys in the playoffs,” he said.

The Rebels were also without the services of alternate captain Evan Polei in Tuesday’s game seven, after he was assessed a suspension for an elbow in Game 6.

The Hurricanes will face the Medicine Hat Tigers in the second round of the WHL playoffs starting on Friday night.

byron.hackett@bprda.wpengine.com

Rebels

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

Just Posted

More Red Deer seniors could be dealing with homelessness, inadequate housing in future

Red Deer is short 200 affordable seniors’ housing units: Bridges study shows

Federal carbon tax is unconstitutional, says Alberta Court of Appeal

EDMONTON — The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled that the federal… Continue reading

Red Deer man’s aggravated assault appeal says judge erred

Legal test for self defence not properly applied, says appeal

Farming organization recognizes climate crisis

National Farmers Union speaks to central Albertans

Red Deer RCMP looking for missing 15-year-old girl

Red Deer RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance to locate a… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Kenney says investor confidence needed after Teck mine project killed

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his government is taking action… Continue reading

‘They loved life’: Family and friends give tearful tributes at Kobe Bryant at memorial

LOS ANGELES —Tears streamed down Vanessa Bryant’s face as she spoke about… Continue reading

Feds introduce bill dropping some restrictions on assisted dying

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government has introduced legislation aimed at making it… Continue reading

StatCan says 3.2 million living in poverty, including 566,000 children

OTTAWA — Canada’s poverty rate has fallen to a historic low in… Continue reading

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

VANCOUVER — Teck Resources Ltd. has withdrawn its application for a massive… Continue reading

Alberta Appeal Court sides with Alberta on federal carbon tax

EDMONTON — The Alberta Court of Appeal gave opponents of the federal… Continue reading

Raptors Uprising GC offer second chance to gamer suspended for 2019 season

TORONTO — Raptors Uprising GC, the gaming arm of the Raptors, has… Continue reading

Most Read