Red Deer Rebels forward Brandon Cutler just misses a backhand opportunity during WHL play against the Medicine Hat Tigers on Tuesday night at the Centrium. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

McCarty scores two, Rebels snap losing streak

Rebels last win on home ice was 87 days ago

You could tell by the celebrations, this one was big for the Red Deer Rebels.

In one foul swoop, they finally broke a home winless streak that started before Halloween in 2017 and a losing skid that had lasted 13 games and just over a month.

A 4-1 win Tuesday for the Rebels over the Medicine Hat Tigers and that was all forgotten for a night.

“It’s good, you start losing and it can really affect you. I don’t think everyone– the fans and the city know how much it actually bugs us in the room all the time,” said Mason McCarty, who had two goals including the game winner late in the third and was named first star in the victory.

“It’s just one win and we are going to keep pushing but it definitely feels good to be out of the slump for sure.”

Jaeger White opened the scoring for the Tigers just 4:42 into the game but from there the Rebels pushed back and eventually McCarty tied the game at one.

He scored his second of the night to push the Rebels ahead after the game had been deadlocked at one since his first tally midway through the opening frame.

The veteran forward notched number two when he burst wide past Tigers veteran defender Kristians Rubins and then put a backhand past Michael Bullion. The game-winning goal came with just 3:37 to go in the contest.

The 20-year-old Rebels forward leads the team with 24 goals. His previous season high was 21 last season with the Saskatoon Blades. In 201 career games, the Blackie, Alta. native has 71 goals and 59 assists.

McCarty’s first of the night came with 6:07 left in the opening frame and tied the game at one.

Some solid forechecking and offensive zone time finally paid dividends for the Rebels on his 23rd goal of the year. Rookie forward River Fahey made a gorgeous behind the back pass to a streaking McCarty who tipped the pass just past the outstretched blocker of Bullion.

“I thought we just worked hard and the second we weren’t very good. Brent had a talk with the whole team about cheating and turnovers,” McCarty said.

“In the end, in the third, we played well. River is a young guy and he played well. He played hard and physical.”

Pawlenchuk added an insurance marker for Red Deer with 2:08 left and Kristian Riechel sealed the game with an empty-net goal.

The last time the Rebels won, they also snapped an 11 game losing streak in Medicine Hat on Dec. 15. The Rebels hung with the Central Division leading Tigers for the majority of the night, a team that has 13 more wins and 20 more points than Red Deer this season.

“We stayed with it. At the end of the night, you get rewarded. I thought the first period we were really good, then the second we got standing around too much, especially in the first seven or eight minutes,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.

“We played pretty good in the third and we capitalized on our scoring opportunities and our guys that needed to produced scored. It’s important that our older guys get us production and we got that… we worked, we competed and we played hard.”

Anders was solid in the victory for Red Deer with 36 saves and was named the second star for his efforts.

The Rebels are back on the ice Saturday when they host the Kelowna Rockets.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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