VANCOUVER– The Red Deer Rebels are red hot at exactly the right time.
Red Deer picked up another two points and finished off a perfect B.C. trip with a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants Sunday.
The win moved the Rebels into sole possession of third place in the WHL’s Central Division, two points ahead of the Kootenay Ice.
“We found a way to win on the road. To finish off this B.C. trip, it was a huge win,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.
“Confidence and playing the way we expect to play. We talked about this all year – if you play a certain way. For whatever reason, it took us until to the middle of January to play the way we need to play.”
An 11-1-2 stretch in their last 13 games has pushed the Rebels into a playoff spot for the time being.
CHL Import Draft pick from 2017 Kristian Reichel scored twice for Red Deer in the win Sunday and Brandon Cutler also notched a pair of tallies. Along with veteran Brandon Hagel, the trio combined for seven points.
Rebels netminder Riley Lamb also continued to roll with his seventh straight victory.
The Rivers, Man. native stopped 39 shots and made a number of big stops to keep his team ahead.
“Our goaltending has been exceptional,” Sutter said.
Red Deer generated plenty of chances in the opening frame, but couldn’t convert on the power play and allowed a Dawson Holt short-handed goal with just 2:28 to play in the period.
Reichel got the Rebels on the board in the second and tied the game at one with his 26th goal of the season.
Midway through the second, Arshdeep Bains feathered a pass to Cutler on a 2-on-1 and the second-year Rebels winger buried his fourth goal of the year.
The Spruce Grove, Alta. native added his second of the game and fifth of the year early in the third when he banged in a rebound after a Hagel shot.
“We had lots of chances in the first. Our power play just wasn’t working. Obviously, we gave up a short-handed goal and didn’t generate enough on it,” Sutter said.
“Five-on-five, we actually played a pretty good first. I felt like if we stayed with our game we’d be fine and we were able to capitalize on a couple opportunities.”
Former Rebel Jared Dmytriw helped cut the Vancouver deficit to one with just over five minutes to play when he notched his 13th goal of the campaign.
Reichel also added an insurance marker on his second goal of the night with a shot off the post and in for his 27th goal of the year midway through the third.
Hagel, a Buffalo Sabres draft pick had two assists in the game and now has nine points in his last four games.
The Rebels will finish their road trip Wednesday with a visit to Calgary to take on the Hitmen.