The Red Deer Rebels are looking to turn the ship around and build off their lone victory this month.
Red Deer finally ended their 87-day home losing streak on Tuesday with a 4-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers and are hoping to summon some more of that good luck this weekend.
They’ll play the final two games of a seven-game homestand Saturday and Sunday, before departing on a four-game road trip through Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Saturday the B.C. Division leading Kelowna Rockets, who are 7-3 in their last 10 games make a visit to the Centrium.
Prior to Friday, Rockets forward Kole Lind has been red-hot with 24 goals and 66 points in just 38 games. Defenceman Cal Foote is a force on the backend with 40 points in 37 games prior to Friday. Rookie goalie Roman Basran has a 2.28 goals against average in 10 games with the Rockets this year.
The Rebels playoff prospects remain very slim, but even a win Tuesday left them 14 points back of the Kootenay Ice for third in the Central Division.
A fact that forward Kristian Reichel is using to remain positive about the stretch run for his club.
“I just want to help the win and try to make the playoffs. It will be hard but it’s 12 points. That’s not too big a difference for us, it’s six games,” said Reichel, who has become a quiet leader for the Rebels.
“To the end of the season, it’s 25 games, so we can do that but we need to play like we did against Medicine Hat. We need to be focused all the time and try our best.”
Reichel for his own efforts has been a shining light for the Rebels. The Czech centre is third in rookie scoring across the WHL with 16 goals and 15 assists. He’s also been one of the top faceoff men for Brent Sutter’s group with 414 wins on 757 attempts. He hopes to get closer to 60 per cent by the end of the season.
“Need to be better on faceoffs, harder on pucks and try to beat guys 1-on-1 and score some more goals,” Reichel said.
“You always want to be better in that situation, always want to have 60 per cent (on faceoffs) every game. I want to be better on faceoffs in d-zone. You can improve everything in your game.”
The Rebels will also play a rare Sunday afternoon contest with puck drop at 5 p.m. when they host Central Division Rival Lethbridge Hurricanes.