One day after absorbing a sound beating, the Red Deer Rebels were talking redemption.
“No question, it wasn’t a game we’re proud of by any stretch,” Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin said Thursday, reflecting on Wednesday’s 8-1 Western Hockey League loss to the host Saskatoon Blades. “It was one of those games where it just seemed like everything went wrong. We just have to use it the right way and get back after it and respond the right way tomorrow.”
The Rebels had a four-game winning streak snapped at Saskatoon and will attempt to start another positive run when they entertain the Prince George Cougars tonight at the Centrium.
“We’ve played some pretty good hockey as of late and we have to make sure that last night’s game was just a blip on the radar,” said Wallin. “We have a big home game tomorrow with two more big points on the line.”
Rebels captain Colin Archer insisted the team has already put Wednesday’s debacle in the past.
“That was a tough one, but with the schedule we’ve got right now all you can do is look ahead and not dwell on a game like that. You take what you need from it and move forward,” he said.
“We were on a good streak there and had a good game in Prince Albert (a 4-1 win over the Raiders Tuesday). You look at last night’s game like you made a bunch of mistakes and now you have to move on.”
While the duo of starter Darcy Kuemper and Kraymer Barnstable faced only 23 shots Wednesday, Archer wasn’t placing any blame on the Red Deer goaltenders.
“It’s a team thing when something like that happens, you can’t pin it on anyone in particular,” he said. “Everyone made mistakes and they (Blades) capitalized on them. There are nights when things just go that way.”
At first glance, it would appear that tonight’s contest would be the perfect remedy for the Rebels, with the Cougars sitting last overall in the league with a mere 11 victories this season.
Archer, however, said the Prince George squad — 2-1 losers to the visiting Rebels Jan. 13 — won’t be taken lightly.
“They work pretty hard. We were in that position the last two years where we knew we had to work as hard as we could every night to even have a chance,” said Archer. “They knew that and I’m sure they’re used to that, so we’ll have to outwork them and stick to our systems.”
The Rebels enter tonight’s game sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Swift Current Broncos with two games in hand, and just two back of the Medicine Hat Tigers, who have played two more games.
Six of Red Deer’s 12 remaining regular-season outings are against the Calgary Hitmen and Kootenay Ice, who visit the Centrium next Tuesday.