Another week brings another goaltending award for a member of the Red Deer Rebels.
Second-year netminder Riley Lamb was named WHL Goaltender of the Week on Monday, just one week after teammate Ethan Anders earned the same honour.
Solid goaltending has been key in lifting the Rebels back into the race for a playoff spot, and Lamb has been a big part of it. The Rivers, Manitoba native posted two wins last week, a 1.96 goals-against-average, and a .934 save percentage.
Tuesday, he stopped 25 of 28 shots in a 4-3 overtime win at Prince Albert. Friday, Lamb held the league-leading Moose Jaw Warriors to a single goal, making 33 saves in a 3-1 road win.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Lamb admitted Monday. “It didn’t exactly happen for me last year, so it’s something new and something special, especially to come after Ethan did it last week.”
“We’ve got two guys who are going well right now and making key saves when we need them to,” said Rebels Associate Coach Jeff Truitt. “Sometimes we’re getting outshot, but when they’re on and making the saves that we need, they’re obviously there, so good for those guys.”
It’s been a long climb for Anders to get to this point after after missing the first six weeks of the regular season with a broken thumb.
“It took me a while to get back into it. But I think I’m starting to get into it really nice and hopefully make a push for the playoffs. I think it’s good timing.”
Lamb is also enjoying the partnership he’s developed with his counterpart Anders.
“It’s fun. Whether it’s me or him going it’s always nice to know that one of us is going to play well, and I think it gives us the best chance to make the playoffs.”
Yes, playoffs. Two weeks ago thinking of a post-season berth was a pipe dream at best for the Rebels. Now, thanks to a 5-0-2-0 stretch they find themselves just six points back of the Kootenay Ice for third place in the Central Division. The Rebels have 19 regular season games remaining, while Kootenay has 20.
“We’re all feeling good, the mood’s pretty upbeat,” Anders remarked. “Everyone’s happy. Practices are more upbeat, which is nice for sure.”
Anders says a more relaxed mindset has helped lead to positive results for his team.
“Brent’s just told us to go out there and just play hard, just do your thing and hopefully we can turn it around and play well.”
“We’re really simplifying our game and we’re getting opportunities to score off of our pressure and forecheck,” noted Truitt. “The guys are really working hard and we’re doing a good job in our defensive zone, which is turning into offensive zone opportunities. It just comes down to hard work and getting the details worked out.”
The Rebels look to continue their hot streak starting Wednesday night when they welcome the Calgary Hitmen to the Enmax Centrium (7 p.m. on 106.7 The Drive) followed by a home and home weekend series versus Edmonton.
“We knew with the standings that once we got on a bit of a roll it was going to get us right back in the race,” Truitt added. “We’re getting there, we’ve got work to do, obviously, and have to continue to work hard to put ourselves in a good position. We’re close, but we want to get there.”
Thanks to their recent hot streak, the Rebels are six points out of a playoff spot with 19 games left.
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