Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"A Not-So-Perfect 10"

10 for 10 is anything but good in this case for the Red Deer Rebels.

Last night's 5-1 to the Moose Jaw Warriors means the Rebels are now 10 points behind Brandon for the final playoff spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference with just 10 games left to play.

10 out of 10 experts would tell you those are not exactly very good odds.

It was the Warriors' big guns who led the way last night. Quinton Howden had a goal and two assists. James Henry had a goal and an assist. Sam Fioretti netted two goals.

It's the third time that Moose Jaw scored at least five goals versus the Rebels this season... a far cry from last season when Darcy Kuemper shutout the Warriors three (nearly four) times in sweeping the season series.

Tyson Ness scored the Rebels lone goal of the game in the first period just after the end of a five minute powerplay.

There was one reason for Rebels fans to smile last night as Captain Adam Kambeitz returned to the line-up, ahead of schedule, after missing an entire month with his ankle injury.

Conner Bleackley traded in his full cage for a half visor as he is now a full-time Rebel (since his midget AAA UFA Bisons are done for the season).

The Rebels play their last of eight straight games away from home tonight versus the Regina Pats. Game time is 6pm. Cam Moon has the pregame show on 106.7 The Drive starting at 5:50pm.

NOTE - The Rebels administration office is closed today to allow staff to move into their newly-expanded digs at the Enmax Centrium.

ANOTHER NOTE - The latest episode of Southside Dodge Rebels This Week is now up and ready for viewing. This week we take an exclusive tour of Rebels second-to-none players facilities... AND we chat with the 'legendary' Jared Waldo of Rebel Rebellion!

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While the Rebels were on the ice last night in Moose Jaw... I was down at the Red Deer Arena to watch the Optimist Rebels begin their post-season.

After getting a bye from the opening round... the Optimists opened up their second round series versus the Calgary Buffaloes with a 3-0 win last night at the Red Deer Arena.

The game was not nearly as close as the score might indicate. Red Deer out shot Calgary 54-18.

Quinn Brown, Dylan Thudium and (Rebels prospect) Scott Feser scored for the baby rebs. Dasan Sydora earned the shutout between the pipes.

The stats would indicate that it indeed was a good overall effort by Red Deer, coach Douq Quinn said as much following the game. That being said, the Rebs took a few too many penalties for Quinn's liking. Thankfully, they did a solid job of penalty killing including three separate five-on-three situations.

Red Deer Captain Brady Bakke also feels his team can do a much better job of putting the puck in the net, noting that many of his team's 54 shots on goal were not really of the 'quality scoring chance' variety.

Regardless, the Optimist Rebels will visit Calgary for game two (best of five series) versus the Buffaloes on Saturday.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Road Warrior Rebels Visit Moose Jaw

The Red Deer Rebels are quickly approaching a point that no team wants to get to.

The point where the number of games they have left is equal to the number of points they need to make up in order to make the playoffs.

That is exactly the situation the Rebels will find themselves in if they are unable to get any points out of tonight's game in Moose Jaw... ten points out with ten games left.

Anyone hoping for an easy game for the Rebels had best look elsewhere. The Warriors are second in the WHL Eastern Conference and are 7-2-0-1 in their last ten games. It wasn't so long ago (Feb 11 to be exact) that the Warriors scored eight times in an 8-5 win at the Enmax Centrium. But the Rebels, much to my frustration more often than not, have a habit of playing up/down to their opponent's level. So we'll see how this one turns out I guess.

The Rebels expect to have Conner Bleackley in their lineup tonight.

Game time tonight from Moose Jaw is at 6pm. Mooner has the pregame show on 106.7 The Drive starting at 5:50.

The four game Saskatchewan roadie wraps up tomorrow night in Regina. The Rebels return to the Enmax Centrium for a Friday night tilt versus Swift Current and a Saturday night game versus Saskatoon.

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Let's chat a moment about the Calgary Flames...

Last week, Flames GM Jay Feaster promised to clean house if his team didn't its act together for its final two games before the NHL trade deadline.

The Flames then proceeded to blow leads in back to back games... losing to both Phoenix and Philadelphia on home ice.

That would have led one to believe that Feaster might follow through on his word and make some big time changes to his club... which sleepwalked while going winless in its entire four games home stand).

But alas, trade deadline day came and went without so much as a ripple from Flames camp much less a tidal wave.

And now Flames fans are left to suffer through the rest of the season...which will most likely end with missing the playoffs for the third straight time.

But Feaster is suddenly happy with his team. Mere days after (rightfully) lambasting them for lack lustre play on home ice he decides to stick with what brought him to the dance.

Problem is... there are no pretty girls at this particular dance.

Feaster beams with pride about his two deals in January to bring in Blair Jones and Mike Cammalleri... but the fact is the Flames remain a sub-par team barely capable of scoring more than one goal per game. Were it not for #34 between the pipes the Flames would, as Mr. Feaster so eloquently put it himself, be somewhere worse than 30th place.

I'm not particularly surprised by Feaster's inaction. He has shot his mouth off before and is sure to do it again at some point.

Flames nation will simply have to wait until the end of the season... when Brent Sutter falls on the sword for not leading this non-playoff worthy roster into the playoffs... and when a number of overpaid / underachieving free agent eligible players leave town... for changes to occur.

At least they got a head start by re-signing Tim Jackman for two more years...

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It's now up to Kevin Koe to keep Alberta's perfect curling season intact...

The Wild Rose Province has already laid claim to both of this year's Canadian junior titles (Brendan Bottcher and Jocelyn Peterman) as well as the Scotties (Heather Nedohin) so it seems only fair that Koe and Co. follow suit and win the Brier in Saskatoon.

Not that it will be easy for Koe, who does already have one Brier title to his credit. Brad Gushue (NL), Glenn Howard (ON), Brad Jacobs (N ON) and Rob Fowler (MB) are also among the favorites. The Brier gets underway this Saturday.

Meantime... Red Deer's Jocelyn Peterman, Brittany Tran, Rebecca Konschuh and Kristine Anderson leave today for Sweden where they will represent Canada at the World Junior Curling Championship.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Alberta Gold, Rebels, Baby Rebels, and more...

There really isn't much I can say about Alberta's win at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts that hasn't already been said. But let's quickly re-cap some of what Heather Nedohin and her crew went through on their way to their title win...

- the team struggled out of the gate, going 1-2 on opening weekend... many wondered if this team had what it took to even make the playoffs never mind win it all

- they flirted with the 500-mark all week long before winning both of their games on Thursday to claim the fourth and final playoff berth

- in the 3/4 playoff game Saturday morning vs. Quebec... Jessica Mair fell while sweeping only to have Laine Peters literally push her out of the way to avoid burning the shot

- we all saw the final measurement in the semifinal in which Nedohin beat out Jennifer Jones' shot rock by mere millimetres

- Mair had her stopwatch fly off her broom while sweeping during the final... luckily she was able to prevent it from touching the Alberta stone as it made it's way down the ice

- remarkably, Team Alberta avoid the devastating effects of the flu which ravaged a number of other teams!

A few things I really liked about Alberta's championship performance...

- they proved that one of my favorite theories does actually prove to be true at least once in a while... that all you have to do is make the playoffs and anything can happen

- the supporting cast of Laine Peters, Jessica Mair, and Beth Iskiw... outside of perhaps Team Manitoba... were the best crew throughout the entire Scotties. They were superb in every match and consistently set the table for Nedohin to come through with one of her big time shots when needed

- with their (specifically Heather's) use of some often colourful language... the Nedohin rink did what I consider a great job of representing our province... since that's what it sounds like at most local curling clubs anyway... s***balls... awesome!

Kudos to Chair Sherri Ryckman and her crew for doing a fabulous job of hosting the Scotties. Although they fell short of reaching their 100,000 attendance goal they came pretty darn close (the report for draw 22 has the final attendance listed at 94,997 but that number could end up being a bit higher). It ranks as the 5th-highest attendance total in the 31-year history of the event. Red Deer's '04 Scotties ranks second at over 115,000 fans.

Interesting note... as per Terry Jones' article in today's Edmonton Sun... the Canadian Curling Association is so impressed with Red Deer that they are now considering bringing the Brier back to our city. This was once considered to nothing more than a pipe dream after the infamous 'Redneck Brier' of 1994. But apparently it could actually happen as soon as in 2017. Stay tuned.

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The clock continues to move closer to midnight for the Red Deer Rebels and their desperate chase for a WHL playoff spot.

After a 4-0 loss in Prince Albert and a 4-3 OT win in Saskatoon the Rebels still remain ten points back of the Brandon Wheat Kings for 8th in the Eastern Conference.

The Rebels have just 11 regular season games remaining.

They will receive a boost to their line up in the form of Conner Bleackley. His UFA Bisons were swept out of the AMHL playoffs over the weekend, making him available for duty. He will be in the line up for tomorrow night's game in Moose Jaw.

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Speaking of Midget AAA... the Red Deer Optimist Rebels will take on the Calgary Buffaloes in second round playoff action starting tomorrow night...

Red Deer Optimist Rebels vs Calgary Buffaloes
G1 Feb 28 Red Deer Buffaloes Red Deer Arena 7:00 pm
G2 Mar 3 Buffaloes Red Deer South Fish Creek 6:45 pm
G3 4 Red Deer Buffaloes Red Deer Arena 3:00 pm
G4 7 Buffaloes Red Deer South Fish Creek 8:15 pm
G5 9 Red Deer Buffaloes Red Deer Arena 8:00 pm

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Doomsday is also looming for the Bentley Generals. They lost twice in Horse Lake over the weekend... 3-0 and 6-3... and now trail the Chiefs in their best-of-seven Senior AAA provincial semifinal three games to one. The Gens six-year run as provincial champions is now in serious jeopardy. The winner of this series will take on the Stony Plain Eagles in the provincial final. The Eagles swept the Sylvan Lake Admirals 4-0 in the other semifinal series.

The Innisfail Eagles trail their Senior A/AA provincial series three games to none.

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The Red Deer Vipers were knocked out of the Heritage Junior B playoffs by the Mountainview... who will battle the Blackfalds Wranglers in the North Division Final after the Wranglers knocked off Three Hills in the second round.

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A pretty solid weekend for Red Deer College teams...



Kings Volleyball settled for silver... losing to Mount Royal in Saturday's ACAC Final... but they do still earn a spot at Nationals next month in Abbostford.



Queens Volleyball ended their season by winning bronze at Provincials in Medicine Hat.



Men's curling (Shane Parcells, Dawson Abraham, Stephen Hood and Dylan Hoarbeat) won gold at provincials while the women's team came in fourth.



Kings basketball swept their opening round playoff series... two games to none over Keyano College.



Queens Hockey trail their playoff series versus Mount Royal two games to none after a tough 5-4 overtime loss yesterday at the Red Deer Arena.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Midnight Looming for Rebels, Scott(ies) Playoff Thriller

The doomsday clock is that much closer to midnight for the Red Deer Rebels.

Cole Holowenko made 43 saves for his second shutout of the season (both of them vs. the Rebels) in a 4-0 win last night for the Prince Albert Raiders.

Combined with the Brandon Wheat Kings 3-2 shootout win over the Swift Current Broncos, the Rebels playoff deficit has reached double digits... 10 points out with 12 games remaining.

You do the math.

The Rebs came out firing in the first period. You definitely got the sense by listening to Cam Moon's call of the period that if the Rebels could get one past Holowenko early it would be the start of a big night for the boys.

But that didn't happen. Instead, the Raiders tender held the fort until Trochu's own Mike Winther got P.A. on the board at 13:38 of the first. Shane Danyluk made it 2-0 at 18:02. Justin Maylan made it 3-0 at 19:25. Three goals in 5:47 and this game was over. McNeil added an empty-netter (from 200 feet away mind you) for some window dressing and a 4-f final score.

That makes three losses this season to the the basement dwellers of the Eastern Conference. When it comes time to do the autopsy on this Rebels season you can be sure that those six squandered points will be part of the discussion.

Anyhoo... the Rebels visit the Saskatoon Blades tonight. Mooner has the pregame show on 106.7 The Drive starting at 5:50pm Alberta time.

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I didn't realize just how good last night's MAN/BC playoff game here at the Scotties was until I read Vic Rauter's (@TSNVicRauter) tweets...

"One of the best games I can remember..a pleasure to be part of...from first rock to last..great entertainment..thanks BC and Man."

"Scotties playoffs always special...jones and scott make it more so."

On an aside... he also put things in perspective in regards to certain parts of our hospitality... "Love Alberta..no prov sales tax..gas 1:08 ltr..shop..shop..shop."

But I digress. What it treat it was to be at the Enmax Centrium for BC's 7-5 win in the one versus two playoff game. Both skips showed up ready to play in this one. It looked as though BC might pull away with it making for early handshakes (sorry, fist bumps) on the night. Jennifer Jones put a halt on that though with some brilliant play through the middle ends. But in the end Kelly Scott was just that much better than her former junior curling teammate. As fun as it would be to have the host Alberta team playing in tomorrow's final... I'm sure fans would be just fine with a BC / MAN re-match should it turn out that way.

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My lone thought on the Ales Hemsky contract (two years, $10-million) with the Oilers --> if his on-ice production matches his desire to remain an Oiler then it's a good deal for both sides

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Friday was a great night for Red Deer College teams (@rdcathletics)...
- Kings Volleyball Keyano to advance to today's ACAC gold medal game at Briercrest
- Queens Volleyball beat NAIT to advance to today's semifinal at Medicine Hat
- Kings Basketball beat Keyano 73-70 in game one of their best-of-three series

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The Stony Plain Eagles took a commanding three games to none lead in their Senior AAA provincial semifinal series with 5-3 win over the Sylvan Lake Admirals. The Eagles can book their spot in the provincial final with at win at home tonight.

The Bentley Generals are in Horse Lake for games three and four of their semifinal series tonight and tomorrow. The series is tied 1-1 with each time winning in overtime last weekend.

The Innisfail Eagles fell 3-2 to the Carstairs Redhawks in Senior A/AA action.

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The Blackfalds Wranglers are off to the third round of Heritage Junior B playoffs. They beat Three Hills 4-1 last night to win their second round series in five games.

The Red Deer Vipers are on the verge of elimenation after losing 5-4 last night to Mountainview. The Colts now lead that series three games to one.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Crunch Time For The Rebels, Playoffs at RDC

"Do or die" time has arrived for the Red Deer Rebels.

Mind you, some say it has already passed.

Here's the situation... the Rebels enter tonight's game in Prince Albert eight points behind Brandon for the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference with 13 games left to play. The Rebels can hold onto the fact that they have three games at hand on the Wheat Kings. But time is quickly running out for those games to have any impact.

Regina's win over Kootenay last night puts them 10 points ahead of the Rebels in seventh place. The Rebs have two games at hand on the Pats.

Fans have mentioned to me countless times this week that Brandon and Regina play each other five times between now and the end of the regular season. Their belief is that if a team can manage to win four out of five, or perhaps all five, then the Rebels can catch the other team and make the playoffs.

Personally, I don't put much stock in that theory. If the Rebels have any hope whatsoever of rallying into a playoff position I feel they need to win at least three of four games on their Saskatchewan road trip (not that I'm going out on much of a limb here). This would include a win over the Pats in the final game of the roadie next Wednesday.

As Rebels fans have come to realize, hoping for good news on the out of town scoreboard has become an exercise in futility (and frustration). Short-staffed or not, the Rebels simply need to take care of their business and go from there.

Anyhoo... here's how the four game flatland trip will unfold...

Tonight - at Prince Albert 6:00pm
Saturday - at Saskatoon 6:00pm
Tuesday - at Moose Jaw 6:00pm
Wednesday - at Regina, 6:00pm

Tune in each night at 5:50pm for Cam Moon and the pregame show on 106.7 The Drive.

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It's playoff time at Red Deer College...

Kings Volleyball beat SAIT three sets to one in provincial quarterfinals action yesterday at Briercrest. The Kings take on Keyano later today in the semifinals.

Meantime... Queens Volleyball take on NAIT in quarterfinals action this afternoon at provincials in Medicine Hat.

Also this weekend...

Kings Basketball host Keyano in quarterfinals action tonight at RDC at 7pm.

The men's and women's curling teams are at provincials in Camrose

Queens Hockey takes on Mount Royal in a best-of-five semifinal series starting tomorrow night in Calgary.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Scotties Playoffs Are Set

So after many of us media types spent most of Thursday pouring over numerous possible scenarios... there will be no tiebreakers needed at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The final draw of the round-robin, draw number 17, ended with four teams left standing from the original field of twelve...

Draw Results...

SASK - 11
CAN - 5

MAN - 5
ON - 3

AB - 7
NS - 6

BC - 7
NB - 6

Playoff teams...

1. Manitoba 9-2
2. BC 8-3
3. Quebec 7-4
4. Alberta 7-4

(Quebec gets the #3 seed thanks to their round-robin win over Alberta)

After watching the tournament unfold throughout this week... I am of the opinion that the four teams left truly are the four best teams. And, as cliche as it might sound, I also feel that any of the four teams is fully capable of beating the others.

To the chagrin of many, neither Regina-based rink made it to the playoffs... and funny enough it was a head-to-head duel between the two rinks that sealed this fate. Sask (Englot) defeated Canada (Holland) 11-5 to knock the defending champs out of the tournament.

Soooooo here's the remaining schedule...

Friday, 7:30pm - Manitoba (1) vs. BC (2) with the winner advancing to the Final
Saturday, 11:00am - Quebec (3) vs. Alberta (4) winner advances to the semi-final
Saturday, 4:00pm - Semifinal (loser of 1/2 vs. winner of 3/4)
Sunday, 8:30am - Bronze Medal Game (loser of semifinal vs. loser of 3/4 game)
Sunday, 1:30pm - Gold Medal Game (winner of 1/2 game vs. winner of semifinal)

TOTAL ATTENDANCE for the Scotties now sits at 67,982 (5139 for draw 17). The lack of any tiebreaker games means it is quite unlikely that total attendance will crack the 100,000 mark.

The best news coming out of all of this... I get to have my regularly scheduled nap on Friday... something I have not had the luxury of doing yet this week... woo hoo :)

TG

Scotties Playoffs Looming, Rebels Heading East

Heather Nedohin says she wanted to be in a position to control her own destiny heading into the final day of round-robin action at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

To a certain extent she has done just that. Alberta sits at 5-4 (tied with New Brunswick) after splitting their games on Wednesday (9-8 win over Sask, 6-5 loss to Que). Manitoba leads at 7-2. BC, Canada, and Quebec are 6-3. That means Nedohin and crew likely need to win both of their games today to at the very least make it to a tiebreaker.

And the opportunity is definitely there for Alberta to do just that as they take on a pair of sub-500 teams today (2-7 Newfoundland at 8:30am and 4-5 Nova Scotia tonight at 7:30).

The key to success really will be the play of Nedohin. All three of her teammates are tied for either first or second when it comes to shooting percentage for their respective positions. Nedohin continues to hover in the top five or six.

Total Scotties attendance heading into Thursday - 55,114. An average of 3937 per draw (you can expect that average to spike this weekend)

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Had a chance to speak with Jesse Wallin yesterday to get a quick Rebels update.

They practice once more today before heading out on a four game road trip through Saskatchewan...

Friday - at Prince Albert
Saturday - at Saskatoon
Tuesday - at Moose Jaw
Wednesday - at Regina

There isn't much of an update to the team's injury situation overall, but there is good news regarding Adam Kambeitz. The Rebels Captain is ahead of schedule with his recovery from a high ankle sprain suffered on January 27 vs. Tri-City. Kambeitz was expected to start skating again yesterday and will accompany the Rebels on their road trip. He won't play in any of the four games, but the fact that he is skating and travelling again is a big step for this club.

Other notes from the sick bay... Kayle Doetzel's recovery from broken ribs is unfortunately taking longer than first hoped. The rookie defenceman will not be going to Saskatchewan and is still another week or two from being ready to return to game action. Bartosak, Borejko, Mayor, Hamilton and Weller are all out with their various long-term ailments.

That means that once again the Rebels will try to call on some of their prospects to fill out their roster. It's a tricky time of year for that as midget teams everywhere are entering league playoffs. For example... Conner Bleackley, who has already played his 15-year-old maximum of five games with the Rebels, starts AMHL playoffs with the UFA Bisons. Scott Feser and the Red Deer Optimist Rebels have a bye this weekend, but Feser has only one potential game left to play for the Rebels, so we've potentially seen the last of him with the big club this season (the Optimists are in good shape to make a run at the provincial title and a Telus Cup appearance).

Dexter Bricker, Trace Elson, Haydn Fleury are potentially available to play. Elson is most likely to slide in as his St. Albert midget team is off this weekend. In fact, Wallin says they are already making arrangements to have him play Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday Wind-Up

I was originally planning to write on the contrast between two of the contending teams at the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. That contrast that had existed between Alberta and Team Canada up until yesterday. But I think I can still get my original thought across...

Heading into Tuesday's games Alberta had been receiving stellar play from the three supporting players (Lead - Laine Peters, Second - Jessica Mair, Third - Beth Iskiw) while Skip Heather Nedohin battled with inconsistency.

But that changed on what Nedohin referred to as "Turnaround Tuesday." She was superb in back to back wins, 7-4 over BC and 10-5 over PEI, as Alberta improved its record to 4-3. Nedohin's personal shooting only improved by three percent, from 76 to 79, but she climbed from sixth to third amongst all skips for the week.

One of the two skips she still trails when it comes to shooting percentage is Amber Holland. Team Canada came into yesterday with a 4-1 record thanks almost exclusively to her clutch play, leading the pack at 81%. (After Tuesday's games... Jennifer Jones leads skips at 83% while Holland sits second at 79%).

The big difference between Team Canada and Alberta... the supporting cast. Most notably, Kim Schneider has had plenty of ups and downs and sits 8th amongst thirds at 77%. Tammy Schneider (battling through a knee injury on her sliding leg) is 5th among seconds, and Heather Kalenchuk is 5th among leads.

That brings me back to my original thought... As a team, Alberta is now second only to Manitoba... curling at 83% for the week (Manitoba - 85%). Team Canada is fifth at 79%. You have to think that as the week rolls on Alberta would have the advantage based solely on overall team play.

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Another big story at this week's Scotties is the bug story... the virus that is taking it's toll on a number of the players. Kerry Galusha was the hardest hit yesterday. The NT/YT Skip missed both of her team's games due to illness. In fact, the Territories were forced to play with just three players in their Tuesday morning game versus Quebec as Wendy Miller was also sick in bed. BC has been hit hard by the bug as well. Rock handles are now being wiped down before every draw and there are plenty of bottles of hand sanitizers in circulation. Players have also taken to giving fist and elbow bumps instead of the traditional handshakes. Here's hoping the virus is a non-issue by the time the playoffs come around this weekend.

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The Red Deer Rebels have lost another point in their chase for a playoff spot. The Brandon Wheat Kings earned a single point in their 5-4 shootout loss last night to the Kootenay Ice. That puts the Wheaties eight points up on the Rebels for eighth in the WHL Eastern Conference. The Rebels kick off their four-game Saskatchewan road trip Friday night in Prince Albert (6pm Alberta time on 106.7 The Drive).

Meantime... the newest episode of 'Southside Dodge Rebels This Week' is now online. It feature highlights from all four games from the recent BC road trip as well as feature stories on both Charles Inglis and Cam Moon! Check it out... www.rebelsthisweek.com and follow us on twitter @rebelsthisweek

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Morning Thoughts

The host team has yet to make use of "home ice advantage" at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Alberta sits with a 2-3 record after a tough 8-5 loss Monday night to New Brunswick. They are now one of six rinks who have two wins thus far.

Skip Heather Nedohin struggled to find her draw weight all game long. On numerous occasions, Nedohin had a chance to put one or more points on the board for her team but came up light. To her credit, the Alberta skip took full responsibility for her shaky play...

"I think I let the team down. I didn't play as well as I wanted to. We had lots of opportunities and unfortunately I thought I let them slip away."

New Brunswick capitalized to improve their record to 3-2... along with Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Speaking of Manitoba, "Officer Down" was my buddy's cry when Jill Officer slipped and fell in the sixth end of their game versus Team Canada. Officer's slip up resulted in Jennifer Jones' shot being burned... turning a sure Manitoba single into a steal of two for Canada (would have been 2-1 for Manitoba, instead became 3-1 lead for Canada).

It's a tough loss for Manitoba for sure. But of any rink here this week they have the veteran experience necessary to put this one behind them and move on to their next match. Jones was especially classy when chatting with the media afterward...

"That's curling and there's nobody else I'd rather have sweeping my rocks than Jill."

It was the third in a series of unusual slips ups in Monday's evening draw. New Brunswick nearly burned a rock of their own when Jillian Babin fell while sweeping. It was extremely close, but after looking at the replay on the overhead video screen, the correct call was made in determining that Babin did not make contact with the shot. New Brunswick went on to score three in the end.

Team Canada second Tammy Schneider slipped while coming out of the hack and injured her knee. She was walking around the concourse following the match and should be back in action as early as today.

Attendance wise... 33,372 fans have come through the gates at the Enmax Centrium, an average of nearly 4200 per draw (4171.5 to be exact).

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Holy crap, what a game!

Chris Falloon scored 18:47 into overtime, giving the Bentley Generals a come from behind 4-3 over the Horse Lake Chiefs.

The best-of-seven Senior AAA Provincial Semifinal series is now tied 1-1. Horse Lake won the series opener 6-5 in OT in Bentley on Sunday.

The Gens found themselves in trouble early in game two, trailing 2-0 after the opening period. Former Lethbridge Hurricane / Prince George Cougar / Regina Pat Jesse Dudas and Scott had the goals for Horse Lake.

Thanks in large part to great goaltending by former New York Islanders draft pick Jase Weslosky, it took until 16:56 of the second period for Bentley to hit the scoreboard... thanks to Kootenay Ice and Kamloops Blazers alumnus Kyle Sheen.

After Travis Dunstall (Kamloops, Medicine Hat, Everett) made it 3-1 early in the third period, Travis Brigley and Curtis Austring would score just over three minutes apart to tie the game 3-3 and set the stage for overtime.

The Generals were the dominant team through much of overtime as they appeared to have run the Chiefs out of steam. Eventually, at 18:47 of the extra frame, Chris Falloon (Prince George Cougars) put home the game winner... setting off quite a celebration in the sold out arena.

Horse Lake has done an excellent job of putting together a solid hockey club this year. Most notably Weslosky, Dudas, Taje, former Fort St. John Flyer Kip Noble, and Mike Lalonde. All brought in with the goal of knocking the Generals off of their perch.

A few recent additions have given the Generals some much needed depth of their own. Former Rebel ('01 Memorial Cup Champion) Kyle Wanvig had an assist yesterday and played some solid minutes especially late in the game. Former FSJ Flyer Donny Lloyd has been a good addition to their defence corps, especially with perennial all-star Don Morrison out of the lineup this weekend. Falloon has also fit in just fine.

Travis Yonkman was outstanding in his own right for the Generals yesterday. He'll need to be equally outstanding next weekend when Bentley heads to Horse Lake for games three and four.

** Thanks to @eagleswinger10 for making sure I make mention of the other senior playoff series in our area...

The Stony Plain Eagles lead the other Senior AAA semifinal series 2-0 over the Sylvan Lake Admirals (7-3, 5-3). Game three goes this Friday night in Sylvan Lake at 8:30pm.

The Innisfail Eagles trail their Senior A/AA series with the Carstairs Redhawks 2-0 (2-8, 4-5 OT). Game three goes Friday night in Innisfail at 8:30pm.

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What a night it was in the Heritage Junior B Hockey League. Two games. Two overtime finishes. The Mountainview Colts beat the Red Deer Vipers 76 in double overtime. The Blackfalds Wranglers beat the Three Hills 3-2 in FIVE overtimes!

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Holiday" Monday Mayhem

Holy Toledo... so much to write about and simply no time to sit and write it! I'll add more later tonight or tomorrow morning. In the meantime, here's the quickie version...

- With an impressive 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants, the Red Deer Rebels finished their BC road trip with a 2-1-1 record. Normally, this would provide a real good feeling. But when you look and see that they are still seven points out of a playoff spot 2-1-1 simply doesn't help much. The Rebels do deserve full credit for playing well in all four BC games (they likely deserved to win in both PG and Kelowna) but the reality of their situation looms overhead like a dark cloud. They will need at least 2-1-1 from their upcoming four game jaunt through Saskatchewan to have a hope of staying in the playoff race

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- To the Scotties... the more I hear and see from Alberta skip Heather Nedohin, the more I like. She has bigger 'brass ones' than a lot of players in men's curling and pulls no punches when it comes to being accountable. She went toe-to-toe with Amber Holland and Team Canada last night only to come out on the short end of a 6-5 thriller. Alberta is 1-2 coming into today's action but has played well for the most part in all three games (including their Sunday afternoon win over Jennifer Jones and Manitoba). As I write this, they are closing out a win over Ontario to improve to 2-2 for the week and should be right in the mix later on this week (along with Canada, BC, Manitoba, and likely a couple of other rinks)

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The Bentley Generals lost a heartbreaker 6-5 in overtime to the Horse Lake Chiefs in game one of their Senior AAA provincial semifinal series. Game two is at 2pm today at the Red Deer Arena and I fully plan on taking a quick break from curling to be at that game.

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Congrats to the Red Deer Optimist Rebels. They clinched first place overall in the Alberta Midget Hockey League with an 8-1 thrashing of Lethbridge in their final regular season game yesterday afternoon. Of note... the game featured a whopping 183 penalty minutes (and I hear it could have been even more) that'll happen when first plays worst.

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(more to come later)

TG

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Let The Games Begin!



"Do you wanna get rocked?"

After weeks upon months of anticipation... the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is underway here in Red Deer.

Firstly, kudos to everyone involved with putting together last night's opening banquet at the Sheraton (Lyn Radford and her crew did a fantastic job!). A wonderful time was had by all... and the free shots of scotch didn't hurt, too much :)

Today, it was all about getting off and running with the actual curling (yes, they tell me there actually some games played amidst all of the parties and beverages). And this afternoon's opening draw did not disappoint when it came to providing some early excitement. Team Canada (Holland) capitalized on a couple of missed shots by Newfoundland and Labrador to win 7-4. The other three matches all went to extra ends as Ontario beat PEI 7-6, BC beat Quebec 7-6, and NT/YT beat Alberta 8-7 in a game which had a pretty darn good ending.

Trailing by one point with her last shot in the 10th end, Alberta skip Heather Nedohin had an open shot to draw for one and force an 11th end. Instead, she tried and angle-raise in an attempt to tap out an NT/YT rock and score the deuce for the win. The shot didn't quite work out and Nedohin settled for the single... but I absolutely love the call.

"I thought we had a shot for the win" Nedohin stated following the loss. "We play to win."

The victory improved on an already fantastic day for NT/YT skip Kelly Galusha. Prior to her upset win over Alberta, Galusha won the Ford Hot Shots competition and a brand new car (with her big brother and Alberta champion men's skip Kevin Koe in the crowd). Pretty darn good day (heading into their game versus PEI anyway).

If today's opening draw is any indication... we are in for one heck of a tournament!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Eight Ain't Great


Desperation time is now for the Red Deer Rebels.

Entering their three games in three nights weekend in BC, the Rebels trail the Brandon Wheat Kings by eight points for the final playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference.

Forget the fact that the Rebs have three games at-hand on the Wheaties. It's Al Davis time for this hockey club... just win, baby.

But it sure as heck won't be easy. The Blazers enter tonight as the number-one team in the Western Conference (86 points, 7 up on Tri-City) and are the number-three ranked team in the entire CHL. That being said... the Rebels have beaten the Blazers twice this season (4-2 in Red Deer on Oct. 19 and 5-3 in Kamloops on Nov. 11) but needless to say the Rebels were a much less injury ravaged club in those games.

And what what would a Rebels blog entry be without yet another injury update. The good news... d-man Devan Fafard made his return to the Rebels lineup in Wednesday's 3-1 loss in Prince George. The bad news... forward John Persson did not play versus the Cougars. Thankfully, the Rebels leading scorer is expected to play tonight versus the Blazers.

Game time is 8pm. Cam Moon is on with the pre-game show on 106.7 The Drive starting at 7:50pm.

The Rebels visit Kelowna tomorrow and Vancouver on Saturday.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

TUESDAY STUFF

Some audio for you from Red Deer Rebels camp (from Monday just before the team left for BC)...

Bryce Thoma - Feb 13

Kevin Pochuk - Feb 13

Mathew Dumba - Feb 13

Turner Elson - Feb 13

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The schedules for the Senior AAA Provincial Semifinal series have been set...

Horse Lake Chiefs vs Bentley Generals

Sun Feb 19- 2:00pm Horse Lake at Bentley (Bentley Arena)
Mon Feb 20 - 2:00pm Horse Lake vs Bentley at Red Deer Arena
Sat Feb 25 - 8:00pm Bentley at Horse Lake
Sun Feb 26 - 3:00pm Bentley at Horse Lake
Fri Mar 2 - 8:30pm Horse Lake at Bentley (Bentley Arena)
Sun Mar 4 - 3:00pm Bentley at Horse Lake
Wed Mar 7 - 8:30pm Horse Lake at Bentley (Bentley Arena)

Stony Plain Eagles vs Sylvan Lake Admirals
Fri Feb 17 - 8:30 pm Stony Plain at Sylvan Lake
SatFeb 18 - 7:30 pm Sylvan Lake at Stony Plain
Fri Feb 24 - 8:30 pm Stony Plain at Sylvan Lake
Sat Feb 25 - 7:30 pm Sylvan Lake at Stony Plain
Sati Mar 3 - 8:30 pm Stony Plain at Sylvan Lake
Sun Mar 4 - TBA Sylvan Lake at Stony Plain
Wed Mar 7 - 8:30 pm Stony Plain at Sylvan Lake

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Tickets are on sale for the Red Deer Community Sport Awards Banquet, presented by the Red Deer Primary Care Network. The event takes place on Friday, March 9th at the Sheraton Red Deer (formerly the Capri Centre) featuring guest speaker Carol Huynh, Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler. Visit reddeer.ca for details.

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The Central Alberta Buccaneers men's football club is having its annual information/registration night this Saturday, Feb. 18 starting at 7pm in the Gull Lake Room at the Red Deer Lodge. www.cabucs.com

Monday, February 13, 2012

Another Rebels Injury Update

Here's the latest update after chatting today with Rebels Assistant Coach Bryce Thoma...

Defenceman Devan Fafard is the closest to returning to the Rebels lineup. He skated on Monday and is doubtful for Wednesday's game in Prince George but could be ready for Friday's game in Kamloops. That would get the team back up to six d-men as Kevin Pochuk has been given permission by his midget AAA club (Winnipeg Wild) to go play for the Rebels for all four games in BC.

The next closest to making his return is Kayle Doetzel. The rookie d-man is still nursing broken ribs and will not make the trip to BC but should be ready for next week's road trip to Saskatchewan.

Everyone else (Bartosak, Borejko, Hamilton, Mayor, Kambeitz, Weller) is still out for the foreseeable future.

Good news for Joel Hamilton as he was able to walk and take a shower today (@JHamilton181 "Finally walked and even took a shower! #muchneeded #yourlettinthestankout"). Sounds like his recovery from his back injury is off to a solid start.

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Another episode of 'Southside Dodge Rebels This Week' will debut tomorrow. Thanks to Calvin at Exposure Productions (@rebelsthisweek) for another fun afternoon of interviews and taping. After 21 weeks it's almost like we know what we're doing haha. Check out our show online at www.rebelsthisweek.com and locally on Shaw Cable channel 10.

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The expanded Rebels office continues to take shape. New emblems can now be seen on the exterior walls and staffers could be moving into their new digs before the end of this month!

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On the inside... workers were busy installing the ice for the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts which gets underway on Saturday! I'll have more on that later this week.

MONDAY MASH-UP

Scott Kalinchuk scored in overtime to give the Bentley Generals a 3-2 win last night over the Lloydminster Border Kings.

 With the win... the Generals clinch their sixth straight Chinook Hockey League.

The best-of-three league final series turned out to be quite a classic. LBK won the opener in overtime on Thursday, Bentley won at home 6-3 on Saturday before taking last night's finale in OT. The Generals trailed 2-1 late in the third period until Jason Lundmark found the back of the net setting the stage for Kalinchuk's heroics. It's possible that these two teams will meet at least once more this season if the Generals qualify for the 2012 Allan Cup which the Border Kings are hosting.

Bentley will now take on Horse Lake in one of two Senior AAA Provincial semifinal series. 

Horse Lake eliminated Fort Saskatchewan over the weekend. Sylvan Lake will take on Stony Plain in the other semifinal series. 



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The Red Deer Optimist Rebels clinched first place in the Chrysler (south) division of the Alberta Midget Hockey League with wins 5-0 over the UFA Bisons on Saturday and 8-2 over the Edmonton KC Pats on Sunday.  

In that game, Scott Feser led the scoring attack with two goals and two assists.  The Optimist Rebels can clinch first overall in the AMHL with a win over Lethbridge next Sunday.



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Red Deer's foursome of Jocelyn Peterman, Brittany Tran, Rebecca Konschuh and Kristine Anderson will represent Canada at next month's World Junior Curling Championship in Sweden.

 They won the Canadian title Saturday in Ontario with a 12-6 win over Manitoba. 

The team is coached by Red Deer's Nancy McInernay.



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Notre Dame won the boys title at Lindsay Thurber's 30th annual senior basketball tournament. Hunting Hills won silver in the girls division. 



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The RDC Queens hockey team has rallied its way into the ACAC playoffs.

The Queens 4-0 fell at Grant MacEwan but have tied SAIT with 18 points in the standings.  RDC owns the tie breaker and still has two games remaining while the Trojans have none.

Staying with RDC... the Queens volleyball squad split a pair of matches versus NAIT this past weekend to finish 4th overall in the ACAC. The Queens and NAIT will meet in the opening round of playoffs.

Kings volleyball finished first overall thanks to a pair of wins over NAIT. Unfortunately, Briercrest was in first place at the Christmas break and as a result won the right to host the ACAC championship tournament instead of the Kings.

Kings basketball are second in the south division. They fell to both Keyano and Grant MacEwan over the weekend. Queens basketball also lost to Keyano and GMac.

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Best Grammys Tweet - @rcress8872 "The state of music in 2012, the 4 most talented musicians on the Grammys are in their 60's (Bruce, Brian Wilson, Stevie & Sir Paul) #Grammys"

In all fairness... the Foo Fighters were killer with their performance, proving that rock is alive and well (at least somewhat)!

Paul McCartney's closing performance from last night borders on perfection! Seriously. The second half of Abbey Road is one of the greatest pieces of music of all time... and Sir Paul sang it bang on, note for note, more than 40 years later... check it out, incredible stuff! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUs_dXXGs44

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Scare For Hamilton, Another Blow For The Rebels

This one was scary.

On a seemingly innocent play midway through the third period, Rebels forward Joel Hamilton was hit into the single stanchion between the players benches at the Enmax Centrium.

He immediately made his way on to the end of the Rebels bench where he sat hunched over. Initial thoughts upon seeing this unfold from the press box was that Hamilton was merely winded.

But there he remained, hunched over and motionless, for the remainder of the period with Rebels Athletic Therapist Terrence Robertson standing by him the entire time. Something was up.

Long after both teams had retreated to their dressing rooms following the conclusion of the game, Hamilton remained seated at the end of the Rebels bench, still hunched over. He and Robertson were joined by two of the Red Deer EMS staff working at the game and they were taking every precaution necessary. Eventually, Hamilton was laid on to a backboard and taken to hospital. It made for a restless night for many of us involved with this Rebels club as we hoped for the best for Hamilton... who had a goal and an assist and was a +2 before leaving the game.

Earlier today... word came down via twitter regarding the extent of Hamilton's injury... courtesy of @GregMeachem - "Joel Hamilton has a fracture of his L1 and L2 vertebrae, out a minimum of 4 weeks. Long-term health not affected, will make a full recovery."

Hamilton also tweeted a few times himself today. He is thankful for all of the support he's received so far and is optimistic regarding his recovery.

That wasn't the only injury suffered by the Rebels in last night's 8-5 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors (more on the game itself coming up). Cory Millette left the game and did not return after taking a shot off the top of his foot. Thankfully, it is merely a bruise and he is listed as day-to-day meaning he could be ready in time for Wednesday night's game in Prince George.

As I mentioned, the Rebels two game winning streak came to an end last night by a score of 8-5. A solid opening period which saw the Rebels take a 2-0 lead was followed by a eye-popping nine goal outburst in the middle stanza. Unfortunately for the Rebels, Moose Jaw scored six of those nine goals.

After doing a great job of limiting the number of scoring chances they gave up against the Kootenay Ice one night earlier (a 2-0 Rebels victory in Cranbrook) the Rebels stumbled into a track meet with one of the elite teams in the WHL. With the likes of Quinton Howden, Cam Braes, James Henry, and Justin Kirsch all firing on all cylinders the Rebels were overmatched. The Rebels did not play horribly by any means (although they did have a couple of turnovers that proved costly) they were simply beaten by a solid Warriors club that is suddenly learning how to win road games... which is a scary prospect for their opponents as playoff time draws closer (Moose Jaw has just 12 road wins all season, but 3 of those wins came this week in Lethbridge, Calgary and Red Deer).

As a result of this weekend's action... the Rebels still remain four points back of Brandon for the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference. The Rebels now have just one game at hand on the Wheaties. And now... no more home games until March as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts takes over the Enmax Centrium.

Bright spots for the Rebels last night...

- The first ever WHL goal for defenceman Cody Thiel (perhaps my interview with him this week brought good karma haha)

- The first ever WHL point, an assist, for defenceman Kevin Pochuk... it may be a sign of things to come for the Rebels as it appears he will be granted leave from his midget AAA team in Manitoba, the Winnipeg Wild. They are cruising along in the standings and have the luxury to be able to part ways with Pochuk for a few games and not miss a beat. It's good news for the Rebels as it means they will start the road trip with at least five healthy defenceman (could be more if we hear good news on Monday regarding Devan Fafard and/or Kayle Doetzel)

- Charles Inglis scored again to extend his points streak to six straight games

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Earlier this afternoon (Sunday) I made it over to the Red Deer Arena to watch the Optimist Rebels beat the Edmonton K of C Pats 8-2 in Alberta Midget Hockey League action. With the win, the baby rebs clinch first place in the Chrysler (south) Division and they can clinch first place overall with a win over Lethbridge in their final regular season game next Sunday.

Chatting with Head Coach Doug Quinn after today's game, he is extremely pleased with how his team responded since losing to the Calgary Flames last Thursday. They allowed just 13 shots against in their 5-0 win yesterday over Conner Bleackley and the UFA Bisons. Today, the Pats managed a mere 14 shots. Much like their WHL namesake, the midget Rebels have gone through their fair share of injuries of late. But the team has met the challenge head on and looks to be rounding into form just in time for the playoffs... good stuff!

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More thoughts on the Rebels as well as the Bentley Generals, curling (Red Deer foursome becomes national champions!), and RDC Athletics coming tomorrow. Until then, enjoy what's left of your weekend :)

TG

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Frenzy

It's hard to say who will win tonight's game in Cranbrook between the Rebels and Kootenay Ice.

But if the season series is any indication it'll be a close game that comes down to the wire. Each team has won three times so far this season (overtime and shootouts included) with the Rebels outscoring the Ice by a slim 15-14 margin.

The Rebels, of course, will be playing short-staffed tonight. But that's nothing new for this club as they have done a remarkable job of soldiering on despite the ridiculous amount of injuries they have suffered.

Brandon enters tonight with a four point lead over the Rebels for eighth in the WHL Eastern Conference (Rebels have played two less games). The Wheat Kings visit Swift Current tonight.

Game time for the Rebels and Ice is 7pm. Cam Moon has the pregame show on 106.7 The Drive starting at 6:50.

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Jason Gregor of Team 1260 radio in Edmonton recently chatted with Jesse Wallin for an interview for the Oilers Nation website. It has some real good insight into the Rebels GM and Head Coach himself. You can read the interview here... http://oilersnation.com/2012/2/9/walllin-on-rnh-dumba-and-coaching#comments

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The Bentley Generals fell 4-3 in overtime to the Lloydminster Border Kings in game one of the Chinook Hockey League final. Trevor Read scored the game winner for LBK on a powerplay with 11 seconds left in the first overtime period. Jason Lundmark had a goal and an assist for Bentley in the loss. Game two in the best-of-three series goes tomorrow (Saturday) night in Bentley at 7pm. Game three, if necessary, will take place in Lloydminster on Sunday.

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The Red Deer Optimist Rebels were upset 6-3 by the Calgary Flames last night in Alberta Midget Hockey League action. The Rebels host Conner Bleackley and the UFA Bisons tomorrow at 4:45pm at the Red Deer Arena.

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Another huge win last night for the RDC Queens hockey team. They beat Grant MacEwan 2-1 to pull even with SAIT for the final playoff spot in the ACAC.

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- More local notes to come later this morning...

TG

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Petro Power

Playing with the lead is always a good thing (duh) so Alex Petrovic figured why waste time.

Charles Inglis won the opening face-off and Petrovic took it from there, skating in and scoring just ten seconds into the first period.

The quick goal stood as the eventual game winner as the Rebels blanked the Prince Albert Raiders 4-0 Wednesday night at the Enmax Centrium. The win puts them back at the .500 mark for the season (24-24-1-4) and keeps them within four points of Brandon for the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference (the Wheaties came back to beat Regina 3-2 on Wednesday).

Petrovic was outstanding at both ends of the rink... finishing the game with two goals and well over 30 minutes of ice time, a result of the Rebels being able to dress only four defencemen. The Florida Panthers prospect is enjoying dealing with that challenge.

"You're out every second shift. Obviously, you can't complain... so you have to just take advantage of it and do my best out there... make simple plays and I thought I did that tonight."

Petrovic was far from being the only Rebels to play well on this night. All four Rebels defencemen played great as well. Mathew Dumba wasn't necessarily flashy but he was basically mistake-free. Cody Thiel and Stephen Hak, who in a non-injury ravaged season would likely be #7 and #8 on the depth chart and taking turns sitting in the press box, are doing a fantastic job with the opportunity they've both been given.

Up front... Youngsters Cory Millette and Joel Hamilton each had a goal and two assists and, in their own right, capitalized on some extra prime time shifts created by the absence of Colten Mayor.

And, as you would expect, the goaltender was on his game as well. Deven Dubyk was by no means busy in this one, facing just 17 shots, but he was solid and provided a calming influence between the pipes. He earned his first shutout as a Rebels in what should (hopefully) be his final game wearing those gaudy orange pads... the new ones are on their way!

The casual observer would mention the fact that the Rebels were playing the last place team in the conference. A team which came into last night 3-7 in its last ten games. Both are valid points. But the Rebels had played the Raiders twice previously this season... losing both games by scores of 7-2 and 5-0... meaning last night's 4-0 win came with a certain amount of payback.

Next up... a Friday night visit to Cranbrook.

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The Bentley Generals visit the Lloydminster Border Kings tonight for game one of the Chinook Hockey League final. The Generals are seeking their sixth straight league title and seventh overall. Game two in this best of three series goes Saturday night in Bentley.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thumbs Down for Mayor

You can imagine how thrilled I was to show up at the Enmax Centrium and discover another devastating injury for the Red Deer Rebels.

Say goodbye to Colten Mayor for the next three to six weeks... he broke his thumb this past weekend. This after he had already been playing with a cast to protect his previously injured wrist.

Now the Rebels will have to make due with out their third leading scoring this season (38 points tied with Mathew Dumba).

For those of you keeping track (or at least trying to) here's the latest look at the full injury list...

G Patrik Bartosak (upper) - Patrik had his shoulder surgery last week
F Adam Kambeitz (lower) - Rebels captain to miss at least another five weeks of action due to his badly injured ankle
F Colten Mayor (upper) - out 3-6 weeks with injured thumb
D Justin Weller (upper) - had multiple surgeries for broken wrist and is likely to miss remainder of this season
D Aaron Borejko (upper) - Aaron suffered his second concussion of the season this past Friday in Edmonton and is most likely done for the year
D Devan Fafard (upper) - also dealing with concussion symptoms and is listed as week-to-week
D Kayle Doetzel (upper) - likely to miss at least one more week with broken ribs

To summarize... the Rebels are missing their number one goalie, four of their top six defencemen, and two of their top six forwards. The coaching staff is busy coming over their protected list to see who might be able to fill in for this week's games versus Prince Albert, Kootenay and Moose Jaw. It won't be easy (understatement) but they'll find a way. Somehow... they'll find a way.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Great Night for KidSport, Not So Much for the Rebels

"4" was not a good number last night for the Red Deer Rebels.

They had only 4 defenceman dressed for their game versus the Calgary Hitmen. They gave up four goals before most fans finished their first beer. And they now sit four points out of a playoff spot.

After two solid efforts this week in Medicine Hat and Edmonton, the Rebels sleepwalked through the first period of last night's game... and it cost them big time. Now winners of 15 of their last 17 games, the Hitmen took full advantage on their way to winning 6-2.

Trevor Cheek opened the scoring 2:40 into the first. Cody Sylvester made it 2-0 at 8:11. Danny Gayle scored the eventual game winner at 12:07 and that would be it for Deven Dubyk on the night. The Rebels netminder giving up three goals on seven shots, none of which he really had much chance on. Then, following the entry of Bolton Pouliot and a Rebels timeout, Jimmy Bubnick made it 4-0 at 12:31 and this one was essentially over.

The Rebels did their best to make a game of it in the second period. John Persson got them on the board on a 5-on-3 powerplay early in the middle frame. Alex Petrovic cut the deficit to 4-2 late in the frame. But unlike the Tri-City game last weekend there would be no third period magic for the Rebels on this night... much to the chagrin (to the majority) of the announced crowd of 5787 fans.

In Swift Current... the Wheat Kings scored five unanswered goals for a 6-3 win over the Broncos. Brandon now leads the Rebels by four points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference. The Rebs do still hold two games at hand... but they need to put together a string of wins for those to be a factor.

The good (fantastic) news last night from the Enmax Centrium came from the overwhelmingly successful jersey fundraiser for KidSport. The silent auction for the one night only Finning Canada Rebels jerseys raised $26,250... well above the goal of raising $20,000. Really, this should surprise no one given the outstanding track record of generosity shown by Rebels fans and Central Albertans in general.

Plenty of smiles all around... last night on the faces of the winning bidders who were on the ice to receive their game worn jerseys... and plenty more to come from the dozens of kids who will get to take part in sports thanks to the money raised.

OTHER NOTES...

- Marc Mackenzie was listed as the 'fifth defenceman' on the Rebels roster for this game

- Mathew Dumba's seven game point streak game to an end last night

- For the third time in as many games, Charles Inglis recorded two points

- Following the game, Jesse Wallin confirmed our fears that Aaron Borejko will be out for the foreseeable future... perhaps for good. Borejko suffered his second concussion of the season and is in rough shape. We'll get an official update likely tomorrow, but it doesn't look good.

- Injury updates on Fafard (upper) Doetzel (upper) will likely come tomorrow as well

- Next game action for the Rebels... Wednesday night at home versus the Prince Albert Raiders.

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The Bentley Generals are off to the Chinook Hockey League final after beating the Stony Plain Eagles 4-2 last night in Stony. The Generals sweep the best-of-three semifinal series 2-0. They now await the winner of tonight's game in Lloydminster between the Border Kings and Sylvan Lake Admirals, that series is tied 1-1.

The Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs kicked off Senior AAA provincial playdowns with an 8-4 win over the Horse Lake Chiefs. The winner of this best-of-three series will play the Generals in the provincial semifinals. Sylvan Lake and Stony Plain are set to meet in the other semifinal series.

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Last night in Heritage Junior B Hockey League action...
- Red Deer Vipers 7, Three Hills Thrashers 3
- Strathmore Wheatland Kings 2, Blackfalds Wranglers 1

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RDC Athletics results form last night...
- Queens Volleyball beat Augustans three sets to none
- Kings Volleyball beat Augustana three sets to one

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If you're in or around Red Deer today and have no plans for Superbowl... join us at 106.7 The Drive for our Superbowl Party at Bo's Bar and Grill (2310 50th Avenue 403-309-2200)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rebels Crowned By Oil Kings, Generals and Admirals Win, Big Night for RDC... and more!

Another missed opportunity for the Rebels.

They got some much appreciated help from the Lethbridge Hurricanes as they beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 4-2.

Unfortunately, they couldn't help themselves by beating the Edmonton Oil Kings... losing 3-2 last night at Rexall Place.

As a result, the Rebels remain two points back of the Wheaties while having played two less games.

You can't fault them for a lack of effort, the Rebels brought plenty of it. But it wasn't quite enough on this particular night.

Obvious bright spot... Charles Inglis continued with his red hot play of late, scoring both Rebels goals. He now has 14 on the season, 6 with the Rebels, and 4 in his last two games. He has clearly regained the form that made him attractive to the Rebels when they gave up Daulton Siwak to bring him in.

Obvious low point... the continuation of tragic ongoing storyline for the season... injuries. The Rebels will be minus the services of Aaron Borejko, again. The 20-year-old defenceman was hit from behind by Kristians Pelss in the dying minutes of last night's game (in fairness, Borejko did put him into an awkward position when the hit took place). Borejko suffered a cut to his face which required stitches. He will not play tonight versus the Hitmen and it remains to be seen just how long he will be out of the lineup for.

Yes, the Rebels return to the Enmax Centrium tonight to take on the hottest team in the entire WHL. Not so long ago, the Rebels and Hitmen were fairly close together in the standings. That was until the Hitmen went on an absolute tear... they have won 8 of their last 10 games. You'd be hard pressed to find many L's in their last 20 games. Although, Calgary did lose 2-1 to the Kootenay Ice last night in Cranbrook.

Game time tonight is at 7:30pm. But I have a feeling more than the usual amount of fans will be ready when the doors open at 6:30. Tonight is the night that the Rebels are wearing their new 'one night only' jerseys in support of KidSport. READ HERE for the full details. It's sure to be a great event.

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With the Rebels out on the road, I ventured out to Bentley to take in Chinook Hockey League playoff action between the Generals and Stony Plain Eagles. Those who know me are well aware of how much I love Senior AAA hockey, that will happen when you get to cover four Allan Cup tournaments in four different provinces.

The Generals were 6-1 victors over the Eagles last night. Bentley has a number of former Rebels in their lineup again this season... including Diarmuid Kelly ('01 Memorial Cup champion), Scott Doucet, and the one and only Pete Vandermeer who now plays alongside brother Joe in Bentley.

Former Swift Current Broncos goalie Travis Yonkman made 17 saves for the win. (GAME SUMMARY). The Generals and Eagles play game two of their best-of-three semifinal series tonight in Stony Plain. Game time is 7:30.

The other CHL semifinal series has the Sylvan Lake Admirals taking on the regular season champion, and 2012 Allan Cup host, Lloydminster Border Kings. Lloyd won the series opener 7-3 this past Wednesday.

But the Admirals, thanks to an outstanding 36-save performance by former Grande Prairie Storm goalie Jordan Ramstead, were 3-0 winners on home ice last night.

The third and final game of that series goes tomorrow at 5pm in Lloydminster.

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The Red Deer Optimist Rebels were 4-1 winners last night over the Calgary Royals in their final game before the Alberta Midget Hockey League All-Star Game. The ASG goes tomorrow afternoon at 1:30pm at the Bill Hunter Arena in Edmonton... and the baby rebels will be well represented... http://www.amhl.ab.ca/

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It was a great night for RDC Athletics...

- Queens Hockey 2, Mount Royal 1
The Queens finish off their home-and-home sweep of the first place Cougars to pull within one point of the final playoff spot

- Kings Volleyball defeated Augustans three sets to two
- Queens Volleyball swept Augustana three sets to none
- Kings Basketball 81, MRU 71
- Queens Basketball 59, MRU 59 - the lone blemish on the night for RDC

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CONGRATS to Sylvan Lake resident Lyndon Rush... he and Jesse Lumsden won GOLD in two-man bobsled in World Cup competition in Whistler! (READ STORY HERE!)

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Great to see that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins finally returns to the Oilers lineup tonight. Sounds like he was pretty excited to see his former Rebels teammates last night in Edmonton... and I have no doubt the feeling was mutual. (How good would he look in Rebels silks right about now? lol)

Friday, February 3, 2012

FRIDAY FRENZY

Plenty of things to get to today...

The first of two tough back-to-back games for the Red Deer Rebels goes tonight in Edmonton. The Oil Kings are red hot and lead Moose Jaw by four points for first in the WHL Eastern Conference. However, the Rebels did win 4-3 in a shootout at Rexall Place back on January 8th... so they will have plenty of confidence heading into tonight's game. Game time is at 7pm. Cam Moon has the pregame show on 106.7 The Drive starting at 6:50. The game is also being televised on Shaw. The Rebels host the Calgary Hitmen tomorrow night at 7:30pm (Finning KidSport night).

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Today's deadline for 2012 Red Deer Community Sport Awards nominations has been extended.

 You now have until Monday to submit nominations for those players, coaches, officials, volunteers, and sponsors you feel are worthy of recognition.

 Visit www.reddeer.ca for more details.



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Four players with the Red Deer midget AAA Optimist Rebels are set to play in this weekend's Alberta Midget Hockey League All-Star Game. 

Goaltender Dasan Sydora, defenceman Joel Topping, and forwards Scott Feser and Logan Fisher have all been chosen to play.

 The Rebels coaching staff, led by Head Coach Doug Quinn, will also be taking part.



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Chinook Hockey League playoff action continues tonight on a pair of fronts.

The Bentley Generals host the Stony Plain Eagles for game one of their best-of-three semifinal series.  Game time in Bentley is at 8:30.

In Sylvan Lake, the Admirals host the Lloydminster Border Kings for game two of their semifinal series at 8:30.  Lloyd won the opening game 7-3 on Wednesday.



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Online registration for Red Deer Minor Baseball for the 2012 season is now open. 

They are also holding winter conditioning camps at the Collicut Centre for mosquito to midget aged players.

 Visit Red Deer Minor Baseball dot com for more details.



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Close to 700 kids, ages 6 to 17, are hitting the ice this weekend for Red Deer Pond Hockey's second tournament of their season.

 The Twin Pond Hockey Rinks at the South Hill Kinsmen Community Hall along with the community Rinks in Grandview, Riverside Meadows, West Park and Oriole Park are hosting games tomorrow morning starting at 9am.



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The 2012 Canadian Junior Curling Championships get underway tomorrow in Napanee, Ontario. 

Alberta is represented on the women's side by the Red Deer team of Jocelyn Peterman, Brittany Tran, Rebecca Konschuh and Kristine Anderson.

 They play their opening game tomorrow morning versus BC.



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Next Wednesday, February 8th is Winter Walk Day in Alberta.

Everyone is encouraged to get outside for a walk for at least 15 minutes.  You can also organize an event for a chance at prizes.  Visit www.shapeab.ca or call Barb at 403-357-3612 to find out more.

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Now with that out of the way...

It truly was an incredible night for Sam Gagner. Four Goals. Four assists. Eight points. The Oilers beat Chicago 8-4. I have some thoughts...

- Wayne Gretzky. Paul Coffey. Sam Gagner. "One of these things is not like the other ones"

- The last time a player recorded eight points in one NHL game... seven months before Gagner was even born (Mario Lemieux vs. Toronto on December 31, 1988). Gagner was born on August 10, 1989.

- What does this mean for Gagner moving forward? Prior to last night, he struggled through his first 43 games of the season... recording just 5 goals and 17 assists. Does this take him off the market as potential trade bait, or simply increase his potential trade value? (for the record, the Oilers would be foolish to trade a young, talented centre like Gagner IMO).

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And, finally, my big football prediction for this Sunday... the Philadelphia Passion will defeat the Los Angeles Temptation 48-45 in Lingerie Bowl VIII in Las Vegas... place your wagers accordingly.

TG

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts

Overall, yesterday was rather quiet at Red Deer Rebels camp.

Mathew Dumba made some noise at the CHL NHL Top Prospects Game in Kelowna. Playing for Team Cherry, he dropped the mitts for a third period tilt with Team Orr's Raphael Bussieres. Dumba also finished with a plus-one rating as he was on the ice when Griffen Reinhart scored the lone goal of the game for Team Cherry. Team Orr ended up winning by a score of 2-1.

On the Rebels front... I was chatting with the billet for goaltender Patrik Bartosak (which is fairly easy as he works at our 106.7 The Drive office). He said Bartosak's shoulder surgery went well on Tuesday and that his recovery is off to a smooth start. He'll be in a sling for the next few weeks. One nice thing for Patrik is that his parents are here visiting from the Czech Republic. They arrived late last week and attended both home games versus Tri City and Brandon, and by all accounts they are having a great time here in Red Deer.

One more practice day today for the Rebels before they visit the Edmonton Oil Kings. Saturday, they host the Calgary Hitmen (Finning Kidsport jersey night).

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Just over two weeks remain until the start of the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts here in Red Deer.

Chatting yesterday with Tournament Chair Sherri Ryckman, she says the buzz is definitely picking up as the event draws closer. They have seen a spike in ticket sales this week since we found out which 12 teams are coming to compete at the Scotties. More than 85,000 have been sold (as of yesterday) and Ryckman expects to hit the 90,000 mark by this weekend. FYI... the '04 Scotties in Red Deer saw 112,688 fans come through the gates, the second highest total in Scotties history.

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The regular season is over and it's now league playoff time in the Chinook Hockey League. The Lloydminster Border Kings won the regular season crown, ending the Bentley Generals five year reign at the top. The Border Kings, Generals, Sylvan Lake Admirals and Stony Plain Eagles will battle for the playoff crown.

The #1 ranked Border Kings and #3 ranked Admirals kicked off their best-of-three semifinal series last night. Lloydminster won 7-3. Game two goes tomorrow night in Sylvan. Bentley hosts Stony Plain for game one of their series tomorrow night. Both games get underway at 8:30pm.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rebels (Finally) Beat The Tigers!

It was a recipe for disaster.

The Rebels were heading into a road game versus a team they hadn't beaten all season (hardly at all over the past couple of seasons) with just four of their regular defencemen in the lineup. Not gonna lie... I was bracing for the worst.

But those four d-man (Petrovic, Borejko, Thiel, Hak) along with the two call up's (Haydn Fleury, Kevin Pochuk) played admirably in a 6-3 Rebels win over the Medicine Hat Tigers.

They weren't perfect... but they were very, very effective.

GAME SUMMARY

"Hak and Thiel in particular really gave us a lot" coach Jesse Wallin said post-game, "they did a good job of moving the puck, did a real good job of defending. Hakker was out there against Etem and Shinkaruk a lot and did a great job of shutting them down, not giving them a lot."

(Etem still did find a way to score all three Tigers goals. He leads the entire CHL with 47 this season.)

Fleury and Pochuk also held their own in what was a tough spot for the two youngsters.

"They weren't out there a lot, but they did get a fairly regular shift" noted Wallin, "I though they looked comfortable, too. They kept it simple. It was a high-paced game which was an adjustment for them at times. They certainly certainly didn't hurt us and they did a good job of defending."

Once again, the Rebels prospects did an admirable job of stepping up when called upon (ala Feser, Bleackley, Bricker).

No doubt Deven Dubyk was a happy man following last night's game. The 20-year-old netminder earned his first ever win over his former club (while still wearing those gaudy orange pads) making 24 saves in the process.

Tyson Ness, who has been extremely solid for the Rebels of late, scored the first two goals of the game for the Rebels. Charles Inglis scored their next two as he continues to heat up. Turner Elson netted his team leading 19th and John Persson scored the empty netter (actually, he was tripped up while heading in on the empty net and was awarded a goal) to seal the deal.

Once again, the Rebels climb within two points of the Wheaties for the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference.

Once again, the Rebels will be challenged to play well in back-to-back games. It certainly won't be easy as they visit the conference leading Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday.

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OTHER NOTES...

- The Rebels finish January with a 6-5-1-1 record

- Forward Brooks Maxwell was back in the Rebels lineup after missing a few games with an upper body ailment

- Mathew Dumba will suit up for Team Cherry in tonight's CHL NHL Top Prospects Game in Kelowna. Last night, he took part in the hardest shot event at the skills competition... clocking in at 91.8 mph.

- Courtesy of @WHLFacts on Twitter... Turner Elson had 14 points in January, the highest total in any single month of his WHL career