Red Deer Rebels forward Cam Hausinger tries to tip a shot past Swift Current Broncos goal Issac Poulter in the first period of WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Rebels head into break with win over Swift Current

Red Deer has five wins in the last 7

Rebels 3 Broncos 1

The Red Deer Rebels are on a roll heading to the Christmas break.

It looked like visions of turkey and a trip home might have been on the minds of both the Swift Current Broncos and Red Deer Rebels Saturday in the last game before the break, but it was the home side who pushed those thoughts aside just long enough to get a win.

Tied 1-1 after 40 minutes, Red Deer scored two goals in the final frame, the first by Cam Hausinger and the icing on the cake by Josh Tarzwell, to close out a 3-1 win and nabbed their fifth in the last seven games.

“It’s awesome, having that momentum and just being able to play good games over the last 10, I thought our team has been playing really well defensively,” said Hausinger, who was first star after burying what proved to be the game-winning goal 3:58 into the third.

The pace Saturday was dialed down to a slow crawl especially after a high flying win over the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday, but the Rebels did just enough to pick up two points.

“We had some hiccups, we had some slow moments, but we came out in third period when it counted and ended up getting a win,” added Hausinger, who now has eight goals and 20 points in 32 games.

“Med Hat is a fast team. You tend to skate with faster teams, I thought we played a little slower and we played to their speed. We didn’t really push the pace this game and I thought that’s why we didn’t have as much success the first to periods.”

Zak Smith got the Centrium fans going early, notching the Teddy Bear and Toque toss goal just a minute and 51 seconds into the game. He drove wide and fired a shot short-side on Issac Poulter and chaos ensued as the fans participated in the annual tradition.

The Broncos opening goal came on an odd play in the second period. Initially, the goal light went on but it was waved off by the referee. Then, at the stoppage, after a review, the call was confirmed. But before the next faceoff, the referee again was in discussion with the goal judge and the call was overturned, saying it was a good goal. The goal was given to Tyler Smithies.

The rest of the second looked like the two teams were skating in quicksand, thanks in part to the lockdown defensive style the Broncos play.

Hausinger finally broke through for the Rebels, burying a great saucer pass from Jayden Grubbe to open up a 2-1 lead for the Rebels early in the third.

“Barts held the line pretty good there and Tarzwell put it through my legs and put it down low to Grubbe and he made a real nice pass, right on the money,” Hausinger said.

“All I had to do was tap it in. I was lucky I put that one home. Don’t get too many of those.”

Josh Tarzwell added some cushion for Red Deer, finishing off a nice rush with 3:07 to play. He drove through the neutral zone, made a drop pass to Ethan Sakowich, who fired a shot on Issac Poulter and the rebound bounced right to Tarzwell. It was his team-leading 14th goal of the year and had him as the second star on the night.

“It’s a game where you just had to stay with it, not break. Tight checking, there wasn’t a lot of room,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.

“It was a game that you just had to keep your mistakes to a minimum and I thought we did a really good job in the third period, we talked about just staying with it and trying to break the opposition. Get a quality scoring chance or two and capitalize and we were able to do that.”

Rebels goalie Byron Fancy picked up another win and ran his record to 7-7-0-1 on the year. He stopped 19 shots in the win. Poulter made 29 saves in the loss.

The Rebels will now break until Dec. 27, when they host the Edmonton Oil Kings. Puck drop is 7 p.m. at the Centrium.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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Zak Smith and the Red Deer Rebels celebrate the Teddy Bear and Toque toss goal on Saturday night against the Swift Current Broncos. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

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