It’s been a long time since many of the Red Deer Rustlers tucked their hockey gear in the bowels of a bus.
After a humbling of sorts, losing 3-0 to the Daysland Stars last weekend in Daysland, the Rustlers are looking to rebound.
“Hopefully everyone learned a little bit of a lesson. There’s really not any sleepers in the league, especially a team like Daysland,” said team president and captain Mike Dempster.
“Hopefully, there’s a lesson that you have to come to play in the first period. Other than the first, we had a pretty successful second and third. Just couldn’t crack the goalie. Good lesson, obviously we had a lot of success before that. I think we’ll come ready to play the first period Friday.”
They will play in Eckville Friday night, before a bus trip to take on the undefeated Morinville Kings Saturday. Morinville is a high-flying group, with five of the top scorers in the North Central Senior AA Hockey League.
“Obviously they are an offensive powerhouse in the league based on their goals for and against. Looks like they’re going to be fast. Just by what you hear around the league. We’re going to have to be ready to play for sure,” Dempster said.
“Guys are a little excited honestly, to get back on the bus. A lot of us had a few years without going on the bus. It’s been good with that portion.”
The Rustlers are 6-1 on the season, their only loss coming to the Stars. They have 32 goals for and a league-low 16 against.
Dempster said the team needs to rebound Friday against the Eagles in Eckville. He added that as the season has progressed, their lineup is starting to take shape and they are slowly finding their groove.
“Getting the practices in mid-week, there’s a lot of work on systems and a lot of work on power play and penalty kill. We’re starting to gain some line chemistry and some defensive pairings that are working better,” Dempster said.
“Always a moving lineup, but for the most part we’ve had pretty good success with a few lineups and we’re going to roll with that. Every practice gets better, more crisp.”
Red Deer will play twice at home in December, with games in Penhold on Dec. 8 and 15. Dempster hinted they’ll have a few Christmas themed promotions for fans.
“Getting into the Christmas spirit, we’ll have some Christmas-themed stuff to give back to the community. We’re going to try to drive up the excitement and hope we keep getting good crowds,” Dempster added.
Check out the Rustlers facebook page for more information.