RED DEER -- It was like an unintentional gift from the schedule-maker.
The struggling Calgary Hitmen had lost three of their last four. They were coming off their worst loss of the season, a 7-0 thrashing by the Kootenay Ice.
But a home-and-home set with the Red Deer Rebels was sure to snap Hitmen back to reality.
Ryan White scored a pair while Derek LeBlanc and Mike Reich chipped in with singles as Calgary beat the Rebels 4-1 last night in Red Deer.
The Central Division rivals meet again tomorrow night at the 'Dome.
White said his squad got back to what has made it successful this season.
"We went back to work tonight," White said. "That's what was missing Saturday night.
"Red Deer hasn't been having a good year but we don't take them lighty. Any chance they have to pound us, they're going to do it.
"So we weren't going to give them a night off."
Justin Pogge made 27 saves as the Hitmen (40-14-1-0) moved back into a tie with Medicine Hat for top spot in the WHL.
Protecting a 3-1 lead early in the final frame, the Hitmen took full control during a 5-on-3.
LeBlanc fed White at the side of the net and the sophomore burried his second of the night to put the game on ice.
Coach Kelly Kisio said the two-game set with the Rebels came at a good time.
"Everybody gets ready for Red Deer, that's for sure," Kisio said. "But they get pretty excited to play us, too."
HIT PARADE: The three stars were Hitmen RW Ryan White, Hitmen LW Derek LeBlanc and Rebels D Jordan Henry ... Calgary hosts the Rebels tomorrow night (7 p.m. at the 'Dome, The Fan 960). The Tri-City Americans pay a visit Saturday night (7 p.m.).