The Red Deer Rebels will have absolutely no problem saying “bon voyage” to this past weekend.
Heading into the weekend riding a four game winning streak, a streak that had also seen the WHL club pick up points in seven of its last nine contests, the Rebels sputtered a bit and find themselves now winless in three after a three games in a three nights weekend.
Friday night, Red Deer welcomed the Kelowna Rockets to the Enmax Centrium and the Rockets were able to put up two goals in the first, two in the second and one in the third to skate out of Central Alberta with a 5-1 win.
Saturday night, Dawson Guhle got the start in net for Red Deer against his old squad, the Regina Pats.
Josh Cowen and Byron Froese had the goals for Red Deer, but with just 18.5 seconds remaining in the tilt, Garrett Mitchell scored his 10th of the season to send the game to overtime.
The extra period would solve nothing, so the game went to a shootout with Red Deer boasting a 1-2 record in the one-on-one skills contest.
The Pats would score on all three chances to take the game 3-2.
The Rebels then hit the road to Calgary for their second meeting of the season with the Hitmen at the ScotiaBank Saddledome.
It was Teddy Bear toss night in Cowtown, and Hitmen forward Cody Sylvester really got the crowd into it, beating Kuemper just 3:41 into the game to send over 29,000 teddy bears flying to the ice.
Despite a valiant comeback effort in the third, the Rebels would lose 2-0.
“Well, it was a frustrating game, in a way,” said Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin after the game.
“It was a third game in three nights and they came out hard, as I think we knew they would. They didn’t play Saturday night so we knew they were going to try and get the momentum going their way, especially with a big crowd in the building.
“I thought we came out with some energy but were soft on the puck. The first goal against was a real bad turnover where we tried to clear the puck soft and it didn’t get out, and it ended up in the back of our net. It’s a tough play and it ends up being the winning goal.”
On Sunday, the Rebels got captain Colin Archer back, after the Red Deer native missed Friday and Saturday with an injury, but they were without John Persson who had been suspended by the league for a checking from behind penalty and game misconduct he was assessed in the late goings against Regina.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also missed a couple of games, as he left for the Canadian national junior team selection camp in Toronto on Saturday morning.
“I just thought we looked a little bit flat,” said Wallin.
“And we were missing a lot of guys. We had some guys that had been overplayed and I thought, fatigue-wise, that kind of showed up a little bit. Kambeitz got kicked out in the early goings, and Persson was out with a suspension, and of course, Hoppy’s (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) gone.
“We also had a defenseman on the back end playing with a pretty significant injury so, not to use that as an excuse, but I thought fatigue started to play a bit of a factor as the game went on. But, you know, we certainly had enough opportunities, and if you can capitalize on one of those, then maybe it’s a different game.”
The Rebels won’t have a lot of time to regroup, as they are back in action tonight, hosting Chilliwack at the Centrium (7 p.m.)