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)

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.”

Notes:

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

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

Just Posted

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Two inmates at Bowden Institution have tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press File Photo)
2 Bowden inmates test positive for COVID-19

A pair of inmates at Bowden Institution have tested positive for COVID-19.… Continue reading

Salons and barbershops are able to open on Monday, the Government of Alberta announced this week. (Photo courtesy Pixabay)
Red Deer salon owner “relieved” business can re-open next week

The owner of a Red Deer salon says she’s “definitely relieved” her… Continue reading

Red Deer Valhalla Pure Outfitters owner Darren Schaedeli has seen a significant increase in those looking to tackle winter experiences. Some are trying their hand at "hot tent camping" as he did in the West Country several weeks ago.
Photo contributed
Central Albertans enjoying the great outdoors this winter

Stir crazy and beach-deprived central Albertans are embracing the great outdoors this… Continue reading

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province needed to make a change to school reporting. (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Province makes changes to school COVID-19 case reporting

The Alberta Government is altering the way it reports COVID-19 cases in… Continue reading

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Updated: Jason Kenney kicks Lesser Slave Lake MLA out of caucus

Pat Rehn will not be permitted to run for UCP nominations

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

OTTAWA — British Columbia’s decision to seek legal advice on limiting travel… Continue reading

FILE - Joanne Rogers stands in front of a giant Mister Rogers Forever Stamp following the first-day-of-issue dedication in Pittsburgh on March 23, 2018. Rogers, the widow of Fred Rogers, the gentle TV host who entertained and educated generations of preschoolers on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” has died. She was 92. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Joanne Rogers, widow of TV’s famed Mister Rogers, dies at 92

Joanne Rogers, an an accomplished concert pianist who celebrated and protected the… Continue reading

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
In mandate letter, PM tells Freeland to spend on temporary measures until crisis ends

OTTAWA — Emergency spending to deal with the COVID-19 crisis must not… Continue reading

President-elect Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 pandemic during an event at The Queen theater, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Biden’s aid plan could revamp economy, prompt GOP resistance

BALTIMORE — The $1.9 trillion rescue plan unveiled by President-elect Joe Biden… Continue reading

The Cogeco logo is seen in Montreal on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Cogeco reports first-quarter profit and revenue up from year ago mark

Cogeco Inc. reported its first-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago… Continue reading

Regina Pats defenceman Libor Hajek (3) fights for control of the puck with WHL Swift Current Broncos forward Tanner Nagel (25) during third period Memorial Cup action in Regina on Wednesday, May, 23, 2018. Western Hockey League teams need at least 50 per cent of their fans in their arenas next season in order to operate, according to the league commissioner. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Saskatchewan gives $4M to junior hockey after extending ban on team sports

REGINA — The Saskatchewan government is giving $4 million to help junior… Continue reading

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief medical officer of health says British Columbia’s decision… Continue reading

Most Read