Rebels eye chance to redeem slow start

It’s time to make hay. With eight home dates on their October Western Hockey League slate, the Red Deer Rebels are being presented with an opportunity to string together at least a handful of victories and rebound from their 3-5 start, and there’s no time like the present to make a statement.

Jordie Deagle

It’s time to make hay.

With eight home dates on their October Western Hockey League slate, the Red Deer Rebels are being presented with an opportunity to string together at least a handful of victories and rebound from their 3-5 start, and there’s no time like the present to make a statement.

“This weekend is huge for us,” Rebels overage forward Jordie Deagle said on Thursday, looking ahead to tonight’s 7:30 p.m. clash with the Saskatoon Blades and Sunday’s 6 p.m. meeting with the Brandon Wheat Kings. “This is a great chance for the team to really take off and get some of the points we lost the last couple of weeks and really take a run for where we should be in the standings.”

Following last Sunday’s 4-2 loss at Swift Current which concluded a 1-3 road trip, Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin admitted he was unhappy with the play of some of his veterans this season. He didn’t back off on Thursday, although he said the problems are more mental than physical.

“I think it comes down to just the little details and bearing down at key times and taking care of key details . . . not making mental mistakes and not being soft one-on-one,” said the Rebels bench boss. “It’s about bearing down and embracing that leadership role and playing at the level they are capable of playing at.”

With the parity in the entire Eastern Conference this season, Wallin knows that his team has no time to waste.

“It just seems that every game is a big game,” he said. “Tomorrow’s game is the first game of a homestand and we have to be ready to go right off the hop. That’s going to be the message today (in practice) . . . that we can’t ease into the game, that we want to set the tone early.

“Saskatoon is coming in off a good win (8-4 over the Kootenay Ice on Wednesday) so we’re going to need a good start and a solid effort for 60 minutes.”

The Rebels will be looking to build on their special teams play this weekend. The Rebels’ power play, in particular, has been impressive this season, with the club’s 23.1 per cent success rate being the ninth best in the league, but the penalty kill — at 76.2 per cent, 17th overall — is still a sore spot.

“The penalty kill numbers aren’t where we’d like to see them, but again, it comes down to making those key mistakes,” said Wallin. “When guys can eliminate those mistakes and do the little details properly, those numbers will come up.

“I think our players are feeling some confidence in both of our special teams, which is important. You need your special teams to be good for you, for sure.”

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

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

Just Posted

Scheer appears to backtrack on commitment to not allow debate on abortion

OTTAWA — Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay once called social-conservative causes a… Continue reading

Coronavirus fear touches off a global run on face masks

Fear of the spreading coronavirus has led to a global run on… Continue reading

Statistics Canada says economic growth slowed to 0.3% annual pace in Q4

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter… Continue reading

Tories call on government to compensate dairy farmers ‘left behind’ in new NAFTA

OTTAWA — The Conservative opposition says the government must compensate dairy farmers… Continue reading

Red Deer gets $7M from province for an emergency 24/7 homeless shelter

Councillor says the location will be decided through community consultations

Fashion Fridays: Tammy’s big makeover

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

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

Canadian Jonathan David scores again as Gent ties Roma in Europa League play

GHENT, Belgium — Canadian Jonathan David, who had a hat trick in… Continue reading

Coronavirus scuttles pre-Olympic camp for Canada’s women’s water polo team

TORONTO — Canada’s women’s water polo team was scheduled to be on… Continue reading

Virus fears lead K-pop superstars BTS to cancel Seoul shows

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — K-pop superstars BTS cancelled an upcoming concert… Continue reading

The prince and the pop star work on charity single in London

LONDON — Prince Harry joined Jon Bon Jovi at Abbey Road Studios… Continue reading

Granlund beats buzzer, scores in OT as Preds beat Flames 4-3

Predators 4 Flames 3 (OT) NASHVILLE — The Nashville Predators gambled that… Continue reading

Ministers wrap pipeline talks with hereditary chiefs for the day in B.C.

SMITHERS, B.C. — The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en sat down Thursday… Continue reading

Gardening: Taking a break from the winter

Looking for a break from winter and dream of summer without leaving… Continue reading

Most Read