It has been a tough stretch during the month of January for the Red Deer Rebels.
As the red hot Brandon Wheat Kings roll into town Wednesday, the young Rebels have won just twice this month, sporting a 2-6-2-0 mark.
Brandon beat the Rebels two out of three meetings heading into the final contest between the two teams this season.
Before Tuesday’s game against the Edmonton Oil Kings, Brandon had won four of its last five games and nine of the last 10.
They sit third in the East Division, five points back of the Winnipeg Ice for first.
The Wheat Kings are led by a three-headed attack, with Colorado Avalanche prospect Luka Burzan, Ben McCartney and Cole Reinhart each over 41 points on the year. Both Burzan and Reinhardt have 26 and 24 goals respectively.
Jiri Patera, the Wheat Kings 20-year-old netminder who was a sixth round pick of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017, is also having a strong season. He has 2.53 goals against average and a 0.923 save percentage over 27 games. He has been the WHL goalie of the week in two of the last four weeks.
Brandon left winger Marcus Kallionkielo is also Golden Knights property, he was drafted in the fifth round of the NHL Draft last year.
As a team, the Wheat Kings have allowed just 128 goals through 46 games, one of the stingiest teams in the WHL.
The Rebels will counter with a de facto top line of Arshdeep Bains, Ben King and Cam Hausinger. Bains leads the Rebels in points with 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points. Hausinger is fresh off a weekend that saw him play in his 300th WHL game, joining an elite club. He has 64 goals, 151 points in 301 games, split between the Rebels, Saskatoon Blades and Kootenay Ice. Through 45 games this year, he has nine goals and 19 points.
Josh Tarzwell leads the Rebels with 20 goals, only him, Bains and Zak Smith have at least 10 goals this season, although three Rebels have nine.
Red Deer will still be without the services of defenceman Chase Leslie, who is out week-to-week with an upper-body injury. His replacement, Trey Patterson, recorded his first WHL point in a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Hitmen Saturday night.
The Rebels will also look to ignite their 19th ranked power play, which is operating at 16.4 per cent. Red Deer went 0-for-6 on the power play on the weekend against the Hitmen.
Puck drop is 7 p.m. at the Centrium Wednesday.