Brandon Hagel hunts down a rebound around Kamloops Blazers goalie Dylan Ferguson Tuesday at the Centrium in WHL action. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

VIDEO: Rebels sneak out 2-1 win over Blazers

Rebels pick up their 20th win of the year and have a firm grasp on first in the Central Division

Nearly half the game was played on the power play Tuesday and neither team brought their scoring sticks to the rink.

The Red Deer Rebels finished the night one-for-nine on the man advantage and the Kamloops Blazers failed on all three power plays.

Still, it was another find-a-way win for the Rebels, who edged the Blazers 2-1 in front of 3,289 fans at the Centrium.

“I thought power plays took momentum away from the game. You go one-for-nine on it, the percentages aren’t great. Some power plays we didn’t generate anything on it,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.

“We didn’t give them much, their goalie made some big saves. He’s a good goalie and he’s the backbone of that group. We found a way to get two points, not every game is going to be perfect or the way you draw it up.”

Early in the contest, Zane Franklin crushed Rebels defenceman Alexy Alexeyev into the boards right in front of the Rebels’ bench.

Franklin was given a five-minute boarding major for the hit and ejected from the game. Alexeyev was taken to hospital after the hit and Sutter had no update on his status post-game.

In the final minute of the ensuing advantage, Rebels captain Reese Johnson finally solved Blazers netminder Dylan Ferguson, who finished the game with 41 saves.

“I know (Ferguson) is a pretty good goalie and we talked about getting traffic and going to the net,” Johnson said.

“That’s what I did. (Chris Douglas) had a great shot off the pad and I put it in.”

Red Deer was on the power play for nearly seven minutes in the first and as a result, heavily outshot the Blazers 18-10.

More penalty trouble slowed the game down to a crawl in the second before the Rebels managed to strike late in the frame.

Alex Morozoff buried the second Rebels’ goal with a snipe off the rush glove side on Ferguson.

With Red Deer firmly in control of the contest, a sloppy neutral zone turnover allowed the Blazers to cut the deficit. On a two-on-one, Kobe Mohr feathered a pass to Brodi Stuart who blasted a shot past Ethan Anders.

After that goal, the Rebels were particularly stingy in the final 10 minutes of the game.

“Our whole group is pretty good at dialing in, especially when we need to. I think the last six minutes we really shut it down. We didn’t really give them much, which is huge in a game like that,” Johnson said.

In the final minute, Anders turned aside three Blazers’ opportunities point blank to preserve the win. Anders finished the night with 31 saves to earn his 18th victory of the year.

“It was a game where we didn’t give up a lot of high percentage chances. We kept a lot of stuff to the outside. When he did have to make a save he did, especially in the last minute,” Sutter said.

Red Deer now has 20 wins on the WHL season. They didn’t register win 20 last season until Feb. 16, game 58 of the 72-game season.

The Rebels last game before the Christmas break is Friday at the Centrium against the Medicine Hat Tigers. Puck drop is 7 p.m.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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Red Deer Rebels forward Zak Smith tries for a wraparound on Kamloops Blazers goalie Dylan Ferguson as Luke Zaula defends in WHL action at the Centrium Tuesday. (BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

The Red Deer Rebels won their 20th game of the season Tuesday on home ice against the Kamloops Blazers. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Brandon Hagel hunts down a rebound around Kamloops Blazers goalie Dylan Ferguson Tuesday at the Centrium in WHL action. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

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