Rebels take out Hitmen

Can the promising Red Deer Rebels, clearly a team on the rise, actually be competitive with the top teams in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference?

Rebels 5 Hitmen 4 (SO)

CALGARY — Can the promising Red Deer Rebels, clearly a team on the rise, actually be competitive with the top teams in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference?

That query was answered Tuesday when the Rebels were deserving 4-2 winners over the visiting Kootenay Ice, and was hammered home as a fact with a 5-4 shootout win over the Calgary Hitmen 24 hours later before an announced crowd of 6,732 at the Saddledome.

“It was a gutsy win and a big win. That’s the first time we’ve beaten them in a while. It feels pretty good,” said Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin, who agreed that the Wednesday victory showed that his team belongs with the elite clubs in the Eastern Conference.

“That’s where we want to be. That’s the goal, what we’re trying to get to,” he said. “We believe we belong with that group and it’s just a matter of proving it every night. We’re taking steps in the right direction and a good example of that is how we played tonight.”

The Rebels surrendered the first goal of the game to Joel Broda — his 31st of the season — 4:14 into the contest, then responded with three unanswered markers, as Brett Ferguson and Andrej Kudrna connected in the first period and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, with his 24th, shot the visitors into a 3-1 lead six minutes into the middle stanza.

From there, the Hitmen netted three second-period goals — on a total of five shots — to pull ahead.

Beating Red Deer netminder Darcy Kuemper were Kris Foucault, Cody Beach and Matt MacKenzie.

The Rebels roared back with a third-period goal from Willie Coetzee and following a scoreless overtime session, Ferraro and Coetzee beat Hitmen goalie Martin Jones in a shootout while Kuemper allowed a goal to Misha Fisenko but stopped Brandon Kozun and Broda.

“We did good job of responding and regrouping. We bent but didn’t break in the third period, stuck with it and found a way to get the next goal and tie it up,” said Wallin.

“We had a great penalty kill late in the game. Guys were paying the price. It was a great team victory, we showed some adversity and a lot of character.”

The win was a perfect follow-up to Tuesday’s conquest of the Ice and also moved the Rebels into sole possession of fifth place in the Eastern Conference, two points clear of the Medicine Hat Tigers.

“We take it one game at a time,” said Wallin. “This is a big week for us. We knew we’d have to be good tonight against a very good team on the road. We knew they’d come hard and try and get after it and they did just that.

“But we weathered the storm and I thought we played a real good game. Even though we gave up three second-period goals, we weren’t playing poorly by any stretch. I just like the way we responded, our effort was great and our determination and willingness to pay the price was all there.”

The Rebels will host the Hitmen Friday, with the opening faceoff set for 7:30 p.m.

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

Just Posted

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives plan to introduce $20-per-tonne carbon price in climate plan

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is pitching a $20-per-tonne carbon price… Continue reading

(File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
Red Deer Public Schools say no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support boards

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says she has not received an official request from any other school board for a similar move to online learning. (Advocate file photo)
’Operational pressures:’ Calgary schools shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12

School boards can ask to move online for a number of reasons

In this photo taken Sunday, May 17, 2020, U.S. and Canadian flags fly atop the Peace Arch at Peace Arch Historical State Park on the border with Canada in Blaine, Wash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elaine Thompson
A electric car is seen getting charged at parking lot in Tsawwassen, near Vancouver B.C., April, 6, 2018. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
‘Wrong signal:’ Federal ministers protest Saskatchewan’s electric vehicle tax

Two federal ministers are protesting Saskatchewan’s plan to bring in a tax… Continue reading

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s charities are looking to next week’s federal budget with hopes the Liberals will extend their sector a helping hand as they face the possibility of a prolonged and protracted road to recovery even after the economy reopens. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Charities hope Liberals’ budget lends helping hand as sector eyes long recovery

OTTAWA — Canada’s charities are hoping the Liberals extend them a helping… Continue reading

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Howard Njoo responds to a question about vaccines during a weekly news conference, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 in Ottawa. Njoo says a faster vaccine ramp-up alone would likely not have thwarted the third wave of COVID-19 in many parts of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Faster vaccines alone could not have stopped third wave: deputy public health officer

A top federal public health official says a faster vaccine ramp-up alone… Continue reading

WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims addresses the airline’s annual meeting in Calgary, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
WestJet CEO Ed Sims finds Air Canada aid package ‘bittersweet’ as talks drag on

OTTAWA — WestJet CEO Ed Sims says the federal government’s aid package… Continue reading

British Columbia Premier John Horgan (centre, blue jacket) is drummed into the Lower Post Residential School by Kaska drummers in Lower Post, B.C. on Orange Shirt Day in a 2019 handout photo. A former residential school building known as a place of pain and fear for residents of the remote British Columbia community of Lower Post will be demolished and replaced after decades of lobbying efforts by local Indigenous leaders. The federal and B.C. governments say construction on a new $13.5 building project is set to start in June and expected to be complete next year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Manu Keggenhoff MANDATORY CREDIT
Residential school building at Lower Post, B.C., to be demolished, replaced

VICTORIA — A former residential school building in the remote British Columbia… Continue reading

A 60-year-old COVID-19 patient fights for his life, desperately gasping for air as head intensivist Dr. Ali Ghafouri, centre, provides life saving medical care in an emergency situation in the intensive care unit at the Humber River Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. The patient was intubated and put on a ventilator successfully. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Sicker and younger’: Toronto ICU copes with pressure during third wave of pandemic

TORONTO — Intensive care nurse Jane Abas is assessing her patient, checking… Continue reading

FILE - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during the “Topping Off” ceremony of the New York Islanders new home, the UBS Arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mary Altaffer
Islanders close to selling out inaugural season at UBS Arena

Arena capacity of about 17,000 for hockey

Most Read