Rebels remaining positive despite tight losses in BC
The Red Deer Rebels returned from their recent WHL BC Division trip with the feeling that they deserved better than their 1-2-0-2 record.
“We were one goal away each (loss),” team captain Kai Uchacz noted Thursday.
“The majority of the games, we outshot our opponent. We just have to get back at it and find a way to get a win.”
While the Rebels didn’t return from the trip with as many points as they desired, they can still move forward with the knowledge that they brought a solid work ethic into nearly each period on the road.
“I feel like we can build off that,” said Uchacz, looking forward to a weekend series with the Calgary Hitmen, an away game Friday and a second meeting Saturday at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
“I think we did a lot of things right on the trip. Our five-on-five play was good. There’s a couple things we can tighten up a bit five-on-five, but for us it’s more about discipline and staying out of the (penalty) box.
“That hurt us a few games — taking penalties a little late or taking too many in a game.”
What also hurt the Rebels on their swing out west was a shortage of man advantage success. Another power play goal or two could have resulted in another win or two.
While the Rebels sit 11th overall in the league on the power play with a 22.2 per cent success rate, they were a mere three-for-20 on the BC jaunt, with two of those tallies coming in a 3-1 win at Kelowna.
“When we get our opportunities on the power play we just have to find a way to generate more shots, more chances . . . get a greasy goal,” said Uchacz. “We’ve had a couple of days this week to work on it. For us it’s trying to simplify it a little more.
“We have to all get on the same page and get it flowing again like it was.”
Red Deer sits 10th in the Eastern Conference, five points back of the ninth-place Hitmen and six in arrears of the eighth-place Brandon Wheat Kings.
And while the regular season schedule extends into late March, there’s something to be said of the Yogi Berra quote “it’s getting late early.” There’s no better time than the present for the Rebels to begin their upward push.
“We don’t want to be where we are in the standings,” said Uchacz. “For us it’s all about one game at a time . . . try to get the two points each night and start climbing in the standings.
“I feel like we do deserve to be up in the standings, but it’s something we have to work for and compete for each night.”
Notable: Rebels forward Kalan Lind is still listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury. Rookie Jeramiah Roberts also remains on the injury list on a week-to-week basis . . . Defenceman Mats Lindgren played his 170th WHL career game in the team’s 3-1 win at Kelowna Nov. 4 . . . Saturday’s home game will be the Rebels’ first in three weeks following the Canadian Finals Rodeo and AgriTrade. It will also be the second “Beer Night” of the season (two domestic cans for $10) and the first-ever “Rebels Running of the Pooches” during the first intermissions. Fans are encouraged to stay in their seats following the opening 20 minutes to catch all the four-legged race excitement on the ice at the Peavey Mart Centrium. Tickets are available through ticketsalberta.com. . . . All Rebels games home and away games are broadcast exclusively on 106.7 Rewind Radio and CHL . . . with colour commentator Dallas Gaume accepting a scouting job with the Florida Panthers, the Rebels will have some new commentators joining play-by-play guy Troy Gillard in the booth for the remainder of the season, starting with Rebels alumnus and Memorial Cup champion Devin Francon this Saturday.
(Photo: Kelowna Rockets)