The Rebels will look to finally solve the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday at the Centrium in their last game before the Christmas break. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Rebels look to take bite out of Tigers heading into Christmas break

While the Red Deer Rebels have been world beaters this season, there is one team they simply haven’t been able to solve.

With only nine losses in 31 games this year, Red Deer has dropped all three meetings against Central Division rival Medicine Hat.

Ironically, over the past five years, the teams are virtually deadlocked with Red Deer holding a slight advantage in the series with an 11-9-1-o record.

The Tigers have had the division-leading Rebels’ number so far this year but captain Reese Johnson thinks his group will have a better effort Friday to close out the first half.

“They’re a good team and they play well systems wise. They’re good defending and they block a lot of shots. I think to beat that we just have to find a way to put pucks on net and get traffic, do the little things and that’s how we’re going to win,” Johnson said.

Tigers netminder Mads Soogard has posed a major problem for Red Deer, stopping 76 of 82 shots for a tidy .927 save percentage in those three games. Johnson noted it’s just a matter of making life a little bit more difficult on the first-year goalie.

“We’ve let him see most of the shots and haven’t really made it hard enough on him. Just get traffic and put everything on net is the best thing,” he said.

Defensive play has also been a problem in the three games, with Medicine Hat scoring 17 goals on the Rebels. Red Deer only notched six in the three meetings.

Newcomers Brett Davis and Cam Hausinger will bring a new look to the Rebels’ attack for the first time this year against the Tigers. With their arrival, Johnson has formed a de-facto second forward unit with Jeff de Wit and Josh Tarzwell. The unit has played well defensively so far in three games together but will be looking to add a bit more scoring heading into the break.

“It’s been good, last game we took a step and we’re keeping it simple,” Johnson said.

“I think all three of us have to play a certain way. Straight lines, we’re good skaters and big guys, one of the bigger lines around. We have to use that to our advantage.”

Both the Rebels and Tigers head into the first-half finale on three-game winning streaks, with the Rebels beating Kamloops, Swift Current and Regina on home ice.

Johnson added going into the 11-day Christmas break will be a lot better if the Rebels can pull out a victory Friday.

“We want to end off on a good night we have to stay dialed in,” Johnson said.

“It’s not something you can let off the peddle just because it’s the break. I think we’ve been doing a good job of that, we have to get a win for sure.”


Alex Alexeyev practiced with the Rebels Thursday and was in good spirits at the rink. He is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury after taking a nasty hit Tuesday from Kamloops Blazers forward Zane Franklin… Rebels Brandon Hagel comes into the game with 51 points in 30 games, while captain James Hamblin leads the Tigers with 15 goals and 35 points… Medicine Hat’s power play is 18/66 on the road this year but Red Deer is 17/66 at home…Tigers forward Josh Williams and goalie Mads Soogard will play in the 2019 CHL/ NHL Top Prospects game in Red Deer next month, Oleg Zaystev will represent the Rebels.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake man charged with killing his wife in court

Satnam Singh Sandhu charged with second-degree murder in connection with death of Kulvinder Sandhu

Red Deer-conceived Fringe play that pokes fun at aging actors gets a local run

The Thin Grey Line, by Blaine Newton, runs Sept. 27-30 at downtown library

Alberta inquiry into oil and gas foes could face legal challenge from Ecojustice

CALGARY — An environmental law group is threatening legal action if the… Continue reading

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9 per cent in August as gas prices weaken

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation rate slowed slightly to 1.9 per cent… Continue reading

Iran tells US retaliation looms if targeted for Saudi attack

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has warned the U.S. it will retaliate “immediately”… Continue reading

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

A safe supply of water has always been a priority for Red Deer

The oldest part of the Red Deer water treatment plant on 54th… Continue reading

New parent charged in admissions scam, linked to $400K bribe

BOSTON — A woman accused of paying $400,000 to get her son… Continue reading

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re “stepping away” from ice dancing

Canadian ice dancing stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir say they are… Continue reading

Bruce Cockburn avoids impulse to get political with lyric-less new album

TORONTO — If anyone is looking for activist folk singer Bruce Cockburn… Continue reading

13 seasons in, stars reflect on success of ‘Heartland,’ Canada’s ‘comfort food’

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — Alberta-born actor Shaun Johnston had already had a… Continue reading

N.S. senior whose birthday card request drew international response dies

SYDNEY, N.S. — A Nova Scotia widower who received thousands of birthday… Continue reading

Freedom of expression or personal attack? Nurse appeals fine for Facebook post

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s highest court is to decide what’s next for a… Continue reading

Most Read