The Red Deer Rebels were desperately looking for a win after dropping an overtime loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday.
The Rebels came into their game against the Regina Pats, losers of their last six and having only one win in their last 10 games. Regina similarly came in looking for a win after only winning two out of their last eight games.
The Rebels also came into the game short a forward, after sending Jared Dmytriw to the Vancouver Giants for a third round pick. The Rebels called up River Fahey and Justin Svenson to have some fresh bodies on the ice.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, fresh bodies didn’t mean much in the first period. The Pats came in the harder working team, scoring the only goals of the period.
Captain Sam Steel started off the scoring just over four minutes into the game when he slipped in his 11th goal of the season past Rebels netminder Ethan Anders. The Pats would continue to out skate Red Deer until Pats forward Jake Leschyshyn put in his sixth of the season.
The Rebels went into the first intermission with plenty of work to be done to get an edge in the hockey game, down 2-0.
The Rebels would struggle early in the period but luckily would find an opportunity when the Pats sent three bodies to the penalty box, leading to an extended 5 on 3 powerplay. Jacob Herauf would let a rocket go for his first goal of the season, putting the Rebels only down one with about five minutes to play in the second period.
“We didn’t generate too much in the first period. We seemed to get going in the second. Didn’t have a lot of shots, but I thought we were moving our feet better,” Rebels Head Coach Brent Sutter said.
The Rebels would go into the finals frame with the Regina first period lead cut in half.
The third period would be a grind, with the Rebels trying desperately to tie it up. Reese Johnson would have two breakaway attempts, but would be unable to find the net for Red Deer.
Regina would end up pouring salt on the wound when Nick Henry scored his third of the season with just over five minutes to play in the third period, putting the Pats up 3-1.
“We had opportunities and didn’t capitalize. Our powerplay had a chance, but didn’t capitalize. They got a powerplay and scored 3-1,” Sutter said.
The Rebels would, however, show some late life when Johnson would finally cash in on one of his third period attempts with two minutes to play —inching the Rebels closer down 3-2.
The Pats captain Steel would slam the door shut when he scored his second goal of the game with just under a minute to play, after Red Deer attempted to pull their goalie.
The Pats would go on to win 4-2.
Sutter credited his team for having a high compete level, despite the loss.
“It wasn’t a lack of effort. The kids played hard, but there is a fine line between winning and losing and right now we are below that line,” he said.
Pats goaltender Tyler Brown finished the game with 21 saves for the win, as the Pats improved to 14-12-2-0. Anders would stop 27 shots for the loss, as the Rebels fell to 9-16-3-0.
Sutter said some of his players need to play a bit better than they are currently.
“You sometimes have to get greasy and get your nose dirty. Sometimes we are soft in those areas. We got to work through that,” he said.
The Rebels look to right the ship tomorrow when they face the Calgary Hitmen on home ice.