Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate staff) Red Deer Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell played half the season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and can’t wait to match up against his former club in the playoffs.

Tarzwell knows both sides of Rebels–Hurricanes rivalry

The Red Deer Rebels entered almost unthinkable territory this week.

After being all but out of the playoff hunt nearly two months ago, the Rebels not only clinched a playoff spot, but they are suddenly three points back of second place in the Central Division.

They’re looking to hunt down the division rival Lethbridge Hurricanes, who Red Deer has beaten twice in the past three games.

Lethbridge has lost its past seven but needs just a point in the final two games to clinch second in the division.

That losing streak included a massive Rebels 5-2 victory Wednesday night, against a Hurricanes squad that Red Deer will play in the first round of the WHL Playoffs regardless of how the final two games end up.

One man who made a difference in the win was Red Deer product Josh Tarzwell.

The 18-year-old scored once and added a nice assist late in the game to linemate Reese Johnson. Tarzwell, a former Hurricane who was acquired by the Rebels Dec. 8, was the third star against his former club.

“I couldn’t have planned a better night. Was a lot of fun beating them for sure,” Tarzwell said.

“It gives a lot of confidence going into the first round, we’re all really excited to be playing them.”

In five games against Lethbridge since the trade, it was the first time Tarzwell found the back of the net.

The gritty winger hasn’t scored a lot since he joined his hometown team with seven goals in the 39 contests.

While the goals have been few and far between, Rebels associate coach Jeff Truitt said it’s the plays that don’t necessarily show up on the scoresheet that have helped so far.

“He’s been using his shot more and getting to the hard areas in front of the net. Offensively, entering the zone he’s done a pretty good job. Hasn’t had a lot of turnovers at the line,” Truitt said.

“He’s getting pucks in deep and using his strength in the corners to win battles. Then getting himself in good positions at the net.”

Those intangibles, like the way he battles in the corners and wins 50-50 pucks along the half-wall could be critical to giving Red Deer an edge in the opening round of the playoffs.

“He’s got a bigger body, a power guy that can hit and move. He’s got the speed that you need, now it’s just a matter of putting it all together. He’s the prototypical forward that you always want in the playoffs,” Truitt added.

And considering Tarzwell was teammates with many of the Hurricanes earlier this season, he intends to embrace the challenge against his former group when the post-season starts next week.

“I’m really liking it here. I didn’t play a whole bunch last year against (Red Deer) but I’m looking forward to getting back at it,” Tarzwell said.

“I know most of them, but they’ve got a pretty new team from when I was there. Their core guys, I know some of their tricks, but they know some of mine.”

The Rebels will close out the regular season on the weekend with a pair of games against the Kootenay Ice. The Ice will be in Red Deer March 16 before the Rebels close out the regular season in Cranbrook March 17.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Walk raises awareness, money for overdose awareness in Red Deer

More than 90 people gathered in Red Deer to break the stigma… Continue reading

Ponoka RCMP looking for missing man

Ponoka RCMP is asking the public to help find a man who… Continue reading

Woman killed in collision west of Rocky Mountain House

A 42-year-old woman is dead after a two-vehicle collision in Clearwater County… Continue reading

Rough camper “tree house” found hidden in Red Deer woods

“This took a bit of work,” says man who discovered it

Central Alberta has one less peacekeeper with death of Nobel Prize-winning vet

The late Wayne Coubrough and Wayne Bevis helped diffuse tensions in the Middle East

WATCH: Snakes, lizards and more at the Western Canadian Reptile Expo in Red Deer

The 10th annual Western Canadian Reptile Expo is this weekend in Red… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday and Sept. 3 The Tony Connelly Singers provide an opportunity to… Continue reading

Regina police officer charged with impaired driving after hit-and-run

Regina police say a member of the force has been charged after… Continue reading

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

OTTAWA — Samantha Reusch is aiming to help young Canadians identify misinformation… Continue reading

Trade to dominate Trudeau-Trump bilateral meeting during G7 summit

BIARRITZ, France — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived Friday for this weekend’s… Continue reading

Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

RIO DE JANEIRO — Backed by military aircraft, Brazilian troops on Saturday… Continue reading

Economic storm clouds hovering over Trump and global leaders

BIARRITZ, France — Under the threatening clouds of a global economic slowdown,… Continue reading

‘Red flag laws’ offer tool for preventing some gun violence

After a white supremacist discussed plans on Facebook for a mass shooting… Continue reading

Hong Kong police and protesters clash, ending violence lull

Hong Kong protesters threw bricks and gasoline bombs at police, who responded… Continue reading

Most Read