Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rebels Maul Cougars

Rebels - 5
Cougars - 1
[WHL game summary -]

It was good... but it can be better. It needs to be better.

The Red Deer Rebels played well in their 5-1 win last night at the Enmax Centrium over the Prince George Cougars. It was certainly much, much better than what we all saw in their 5-1 loss to Calgary last Tuesday. Safe to say the "extended conditioning work" at practice this week paid immediate dividends.

As good as last night's performance was, it was fairly solid overall, the Rebels need to take their game up another notch as they head into today's game versus the Hitmen [4pm in Calgary, Cam Moon has the broadcast on 106.7 The Drive starting at 3:50].

The Cougars came into last night's game as a beaten and worn down group. They lost Friday night in Calgary 5-1 and were minus the services of six regulars versus the Rebels [a tune tragically familiar for Rebels fans].

Despite this, PG actually controlled the play through much of the first period. They did not score on their opening powerplay but looked dangerous throughout. The Cougars also looked poised to score on their second powerplay of the period until Turner Elson and Mathew Dumba found themselves on a rare shorthanded 2-on-0. They worked it to perfection as Dumba would tap home his 13th goal of the season for a 1-0 Rebels lead. Had the Cougars converted on their powerplay instead of the Rebels scoring shorthanded, this game may have been much different.

There also wasn't much to give between the two teams in the second period until Dumba set up Elson for a powerplay goal late in the frame. The Rebels took a 2-0 lead in to the final period where they would score three more times to seal the deal.

It was a decent effort overall by the Rebels. One that was good enough to beat the ninth place team in the Western Conference [FYI the Rebels 45 points would have them in 5th place in that conference] but whether it would have been good enough to beat a hot team like Calgary is up for debate. The Hitmen come into this afternoon's game winners of 9 of their last 10 games. That includes, of course, their way too easy win in Red Deer just a few days ago.

Back-to-back wins. An absolute necessity for the Rebels as they continue their desperate playoff chase but also something they still have not accomplished since November. A win today puts the Rebels just two points behind Brandon [who lost 7-3 last night to Kootenay] for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Red Deer will have two games at hand after today.

Other Notes...

- Deven Dubyk was oh so close to notching the shutout last night. The Cougars lone goal came early in the third period when Cody Carlson's point shot bounced off of a Rebels player [Colten Mayor we think] and into the net. Otherwise, it was a solid 32 save performance for the 20-year-old netminder.

- This was the first meeting between the Rebels and Cougars since the December 29th Daulton Siwak / Charles Inglis trade. Neither player factored into the scoring last night. There was quite a large contingent of Siwak supporters in the building which I know meant a lot to the 18-year-old Olds, Alberta native.

- Turner Elson was an easy choice as the games first star with two goals and two assists. Dumba was the second star with a goal and two assists. Adam Kambeitz, who chipped in with a goal of his own, was named by Mike Moller as the game's third star.

- 2011 1st rd bantam draft pick Conner Bleackley played in his 4th game with the Rebels last night. With the Rebels wearing their third jerseys last night, Bleackley wore #21 as opposed to #9 which he wore in his previous three appearances. Devan Fafard and Brooks Maxwell were the Rebels' healthy scratches.

- The Rebels could use some help from their divisional rivals this week. Brandon visits Kootenay on Tuesday, Calgary on Wednesday, and Edmonton on Friday before coming to Red Deer to play the Rebels next Saturday [which is 80's night at the Centrium!].

- The Rebels will be donning a special 'one night only' jersey when they host Calgary on February 4th. The team is joining forces with Finning to raise money for Kidsport. More details to come when they are available.

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