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Rebels and Blades meet in the WHL Eastern Conference semifinals

Will begin in Saskatoon for Games 1 and 2
Red Deer Rebels captain Jayden Grubbe battles for the puck against Saskatoon Blades’ Jayden Wines during a matchup earlier this season at the Peavey Mart Centrium. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Red Deer Rebels Ben King didn’t disappoint with the game on his stick.

After assisting on two goals in Game 5 on Friday between the Rebels and the Calgary Hitmen in the first round of the playoffs, King scored the game-winning goal just under five minutes into overtime.

King fired in the rebound off a shot from defenceman Mats Lindgren, which took a bounce off the boards right onto King’s stick as he cut to the net.

“It was a fortunate bounce but usually OT winners are like that, especially in playoff games. It was nice to have it go in,” he said.

King’s Game 5 heroics brought the fans in the Peavey Mart Centrium to their feet and was arguably the loudest the building has been all season long.

However, the warm reception from the fans was no surprise since the win launched the Rebels to the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinals beginning later this week.

King explained he felt relief after notching his third goal of the playoffs.

“We fought back all game to win it there in overtime and it was just relieving. [It was] super exciting, the crowd was crazy, and then everyone came off the bench. It was just a lot of excitement,” he added.

The Saskatoon Blades defeated Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats in Game 7 on Monday night which means the Rebels will play the Blades in the second round.

King said the Blades are a skilled hockey team and that they’ll need to focus on playing their game and being physical.

Red Deer did not have a winning record against the Blades during this season posting a 1-2-1-0 record in the regular season.

“I think going into the series we’ll just reset and have a fresh start… We’re just going to go in there, play our hardest, and give it our all. Obviously, we’ll take a few things away from those games in what they did well and what we need to improve on.”

Games 1 and 2 will take place in Saskatoon at the SaskTel Centre on Friday, April 14 at 6 p.m. MDT and Sunday, April 16 at 3 p.m.

The Rebels will then return home for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday, April 18, and Wednesday, April 19 both at 7 p.m.

If needed, Game 5 will be in Saskatoon on April 21, Game 6 in Red Deer on April 23, and Game 7 in Saskatoon on April 25.

“It’s obviously nice to have your home crowd but going on the road might be good for us just to get out of here and get the legs going on the road,” he added.

This season the Rebels are 1-0-1-0 at home and 0-2-0-0 in Saskatoon. Kai Uchacz led the Rebels with four points in those games and on the other side, Trevor Wong with eight points.

This marks only the third time in WHL history these two teams met in the postseason. The Blades came out on top both series in 1993 and 2010.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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