Rebels’ season goes to OT

Rebels 5 Oil Kings 0 Oil Kings 7 Rebels 4 The Red Deer Rebels couldn’t clinch a Western Hockey League playoff spot after 72 regular-season games.

Rebels 5 Oil Kings 0

Oil Kings 7 Rebels 4

The Red Deer Rebels couldn’t clinch a Western Hockey League playoff spot after 72 regular-season games.

The Rebels, however, will get another chance at qualifying for the post-season when they host the Prince Albert Raiders in Game 73 Tuesday at the Centrium.

Red Deer forced a tie-breaker to determine eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 5-0 win over the host Edmonton Oil Kings Sunday afternoon. The Rebels and Raiders finished in an eighth-place tie, with Red Deer earning home-ice advantage due to an edge in head-to-head meetings.

“We played well today. We were smarter and more disciplined,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “We knew what the stakes were. It couldn’t have been more simpler than what it was.”

Indeed, the Rebels needed two points to catch the Raiders, who stole a 6-4 win Saturday at Saskatoon while Red Deer was losing 7-4 to Edmonton at the Enmax Centrium.

The Oil Kings iced a decidedly weaker lineup than the one that sniped five power-play goals Saturday, with defenceman Griffin Reinhart and forwards Curtis Lazar, Henrik Samuelsson and Edgars Kulda scratched, to go along with injured forwards Reid Petryk and Brandon Baddock and defenceman Blake Orban. In addition, Edmonton back-up netminder Tyler Santos got the start and finished with 33 saves.

“That wasn’t our concern,” said Sutter, in reference to Edmonton’s decision to rest some of their stars. “Our concern was to come here and no matter who they played we would have to play well to win. To be quite honest, we never talked or thought about it. We prepared like we would be facing their best lineup.”

Wyatt Johnson, Haydn Fleury, Adam Musil, Scott Feser and Rhyse Dieno scored for the Rebels, who jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead and never looked back. Patrik Bartosak stopped 20 shots to post his eighth shutout of the season.

“We were disciplined and we had four lines who played hard,” said Sutter. “We won a lot of one-on-one battles and we did some good things offensively by creating turnovers. If you play a certain way, you’re going to create things.”

The Rebels had an inkling they would have to win at least one of their final two weekend games to get to the post-season.

“Coming into the weekend we knew we were going to have to win one game for sure,” said Sutter. “We didn’t know what that one game would give us, but we knew we would have to win one. Now we have an opportunity to play in a tie-breaker and we have to prepare the right way for Prince Albert.”

The Rebels weren’t on their game for the better part of Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Oil Kings at the Centrium. Red Deer roared out to a 2-0 lead before the game was 14 minutes old — getting goals from Dieno and Aspen Sterzer — before giving up four goals in the second period.

The Oil Kings struck for five power-play goals en route to the 7-4 victory. Lazar and Samuelsson each scored twice for the visitors, who got singles from Kulda, Mitch Moroz and Cody Corbett.

Vukie Mpofu and Fleury accounted for the other Red Deer goals.

“We took too many penalties. Their power play was really good but I didn’t think our penalty killers played with the urgency we needed to have,” said Sutter. “Last night it came down to a lack of discipline on our part and special teams. The penalties we took were unacceptable penalties.”

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

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