There was a time this season when the Red Deer Rebels weren’t being rewarded for their almost nightly slew of offensive forays.
The Rebels have made the most of their scoring chances in recent weeks, and — not coincidentally — have won 12 of their last 13 outings. With 205 goals, Red Deer is now one of the league’s top-scoring teams.
The players have listened to the advice of the coaching staff, whose message was simple — maintain your focus without frantically pressing the issue.
“I think guys are showing a little more patience and poise around the net,” said Rebels head coach/VP of hockey operations Jesse Wallin, whose club hosts the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight.
“Part of bearing down is not just mindlessly whacking at loose pucks. Sometimes you have to have a little patience and get to the far side of the net, get around the goalie and make sure the puck gets up under the bar as opposed to just whacking it back at his pads. If anything it’s probably just having a little more poise around the net.”
Meanwhile, defenceman Alex Petrovic is questionable for tonight’s contest after taking a sucker punch from Raiders’ six-foot-four fourth-line forward Austin Connor during Wednesday’s 7-4 win at Prince Albert. League disciplinarian Richard Doerksen was reviewing the incident Thursday with the possibility of suspending Connor.
Petrovic didn’t return to the game after absorbing the first-period cheap shot.
“Alex is feeling good. We pulled him out (of the game) because he had some concussion-like symptoms,” said Wallin. “He’s feeling pretty good today. He’s getting his baseline tests so he’ll be a questionable decision tomorrow.”
Just notes: Former Rebels forward Landon Ferraro is on the mend after undergoing surgery for a hernia last Friday in Detroit. The recovery period for the Everett Silvertips captain is between four to eight weeks, meaning he could miss the rest of the regular season. Selected by Detroit in the second round of the 2009 NHL entry draft, Ferraro was examined by Red Wings doctors before undergoing surgery. “He just hasn’t been feeling great,” Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill told the Detroit Free Press. “Their (Silvertips) doctors did some tests and thought he had a hernia, so we brought him to see our doctors. Our doctors agreed with their doctors that he needed to get operated on.” . . . The Portland Winterhawks are snakebit in terms of serious injuries in January. Towering defenceman Brett Ponich, the team captain, was to undergo surgery Thursday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and could miss the remainder of the season. Ponich, who suffered the injury Jan. 18 in a 5-4 overtime win over visiting Tri-City, has 12 assists in 45 games this season and ranked third on the team in plus/minus at plus-23. He was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the second round — 48th overall — of the 2009 NHL entry draft. The Winterhawks have also lost the services of forward Oliver Gabriel, who will have surgery for a right shoulder dislocation and will miss the remainder of the season. He originally suffered the injury in October, then reaggravated it Jan. 15 in Portland’s 5-2 win at Kamloops. In 41 games this season, Gabriel — who signed a free-agent contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets Oct. 7 — set career highs with 11 goals and 32 points . . . Tri-City Americans forward Brendan Shinnimin is the WHL player of the month for January. The 19-year-old Winnipeg product led all WHL scorers with 29 points, including 11 goals, in 13 games. He’s currently riding a league-best 20-game points streak.