Rebels move into tie for final playoff spot with win over Kelowna Rockets

First win in Kelowna since 2011

Rebels 4 Rockets 1

KELOWNA-The Red Deer Rebels have pulled off the impossible. For now.

Red Deer moved even with the Kootenay Ice Wednesday night for third in the WHL Central Division and the final playoff spot, a feat that seemed inconceivable when the Rebels had won just twice during a stretch of 32 games earlier this year.

They also now have wins in eight of their last 11 games and points in 11 of the last 12.

The Rebels topped the B.C. Division leading Kelowna Rockets 4-1 Wednesday behind a remarkable 36-save performance from netminder Riley Lamb and three third period goals.

Before Wednesday, Red Deer had lost seven straight games in Kelowna, dating back to Nov. 9, 2011.

The Rockets heavily outplayed the Rebels in the first two periods, dominating the shot clock 26-8 after 40 minutes. Red Deer had only one shot in the first period.

Still, the Rebels battled through the adversity and scored first, just 2:19 into the third.

Defenceman Alex Alexeyev found Josh Tarzwell wide open at the side of the net and the Red Deer product made no mistake to open the scoring.

For Tarzwell, who recently turned 18 it was his eighth goal of the year. Alexeyev increased his point streak to seven games and has 10 points over that stretch.

Lamb, the second-year Rebels goalie was on fire but had his personal shutout streak snapped at 10:10 of the third by the Rockets’ Kyle Topping who tied the game at one on the power play.

Less than a minute later, Ethan Sakowich hit Brandon Hagel with a breakaway pass and the Rebels veteran notched his 10th goal of the year past Rockets netminder Brodan Salmond.

Reese Johnson made good on just the Rebels second man-advantage of the night when he deflected a Dawson Barteaux point shot in with 6:39 to play.

Mason McCarty deposited his 30th goal of the season into the empty net to seal the victory for Red Deer.

The Rebels killed off six-of-seven power plays in the contest.

Lamb won his fifth start in a row for the Rebels with the victory Wednesday.

The Rebels are back on the road Friday when they visit the Victoria Royals.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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