This past weekend was a rough one for the Red Deer Rebels, but they still moved closer to their goal of earning a WHL playoff spot.
The Rebels were outplayed in three straight games last weekend, including their 5-4 shootout win at home Friday over Kootenay followed by a 6-1 loss Saturday in Medicine Hat and a 6-2 shocker Sunday in Calgary.
Despite those setbacks, the magic number (any combination of points earned by the Rebels and/or lost by Kootenay) for Red Deer to clinch a playoff spot went from nine to four.
The Rebels can punch their ticket to the post-season as early as Friday night if they win in Lethbridge (7 p.m. on 106.7 The Drive) and Kootenay loses at home to Regina.
Something the Rebels have to adjust to as they inch closer to a playoff spot is being the hunted, as opposed to the hunter. The club was able to cover considerable ground by playing their best hockey of the season during February. Kootenay went in the tank at the same time, but let’s give the Rebels their due for a solid month that has vaulted them into third place in the Central Division.
Losing Alexander Alexeyev is a tough blow, but the Rebels showed during his three week absence following the death of his mother that they can succeed without him. They have no other choice but to do so again moving forward.
We know the goaltending will be solid as Riley Lamb and Ethan Anders are turns stealing the show between the pipes.
And with young forwards learning from a resurgent core of veterans, it appears the forwards can pack the offensive punch the Rebels need to succeed.
All things being considered (remember that time they won only one game out of about 30 and were in last place in the entire WHL?!) seeing the Rebels where they are now is something we can all be good with.
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