Rebels Take Strangle Hold

By Dustin Nielson

The nation’s top team is now one game away from a first round sweep of the
Lethbridge Hurricanes. Once again Mikhail Yakubov led the way for Red Deer who
came away with a 5-2 win over the Canes in game that surprised me in
several ways.

First surprise, the Hurricanes let the Rebels do exactly what they hoped they wouldn’t
do by hopping out to an early 2-0 lead. Koopmans looked shaky in the early going but settled
down as the game went on. The Canes were able to get their
composure back when Jeremy Jackson buried a powerplay goal before the period
ended. The Hurricanes held an edge in shots after one frame and looked to
be in all right shape entering the second period.

Second surprise, the ref in tonight’s game was absolutely brutal. I’m not sure if
that should be much of a surprise, from what I have been hearing officiating
all around the WHL playoffs has been questionable. Tonight’s ref, Agnew, missed
a couple of blatent high-sticking calls in the second. Within minutes of
eachother Jeremey Jackson and Ryley Layden both had to leave the ice with
cut faces from the sticks of Rebel players. On both plays the high-stick was
clearly seen by over 3000 pairs of eyes except for the two
that could do something about it. This led to the second period being completed
with constant booing from the fans and more physical play from the players.

Surprise number three, Tomas Kopecky can chuck the knuckles. With frustration
mounting on the Hurricanes side Detroit draft pick Tomas Kopecky dropped the
mittens with Colby Armstrong of the Rebels. Armstrong was never really in the fight
as Kopecky had the upper hand from start to finish. Armstrong the “typical
canadian hockey player” is suppose to be a fiesty, crash and bang player. Tonight
he proved he was nothin like that at all. After receiving a lesson in boxing
from Kopecky, Armstrong dissappointed me the rest of the night. Shortly after returning
from the box he got into a scuffle with 5″9 Jeremy Jackson. Armstrong faked punches
at Jackson and then when the two were skating off to the sin bin Armstrong
wound up a two handed slash but once again proved to only be pretending he
would do anything by retracting his stick again.

The Rebels entered the third 20 with a 3-1 lead and padded it’s cushion a little more thanks to…
yup you guessed it Yakubov. The Russian center finished off a two on one with a pretty little one timer
over the shoulder of the sprawling Logan Koopmans. Jeremey Jackson scored his second of
the night on a fluke goal off the skate of a Rebel defenseman. The goal gave the Hurricanes some momentum
but that was quickly taken away. Agnew finally figured out what that little silver thing on
his finger was for and killed the tempo of the game by calling worthless penalties. Any energy the
Canes had was taken away by a string of penalties and then Yakubov sealed the deal by buring the
Canes with an empty netter, that completed the trick for Yakubov.

The night was not over. Colby Armstrong was named second star and when he came out to do the round
he heckled the Lethbridge fans, certainly not a classy act, what little repsect I had left
for this player was lost at that moment.

Jeremy Jackson looked very good tonight with a pair of goals. Not only did he
do the scoring for the Hurricanes he was also the teams most physical player and was
able to get under the skin of many Rebel players. Jackson was tossed from the game
and left the ice with words for the Rebels, words I cannot repeat here at Hockeys Future.

The Hurricanes had phases tonight where they looked great but the Rebels are just to much.

The difference is the defense, Woywitka and Lynch lead an experienced Rebels blueline while the
Hurricanes have some younger guys who can’t keep up with the Rebels forwards.

Game four, On Wednesday, should be entertaining with the Canes fighting for their lives. Speaking of
fighting….if the game at all turns into a blow out look for the gloves to be dropped as
it is evident these two clubs are not the best of buddies.

For Hockeys Future in Lethbridge

I’m Dustin Nieslon