It was an off night for the Red Deer Rebels.
The team fell to the Medicine Hat Tigers, 7-3, ending their five-game winning streak.
But the game didn’t seem off at the beginning when the Rebels started strong with a couple of early goals.
Forward Josh Tarzwell found the back of the net quickly at the 1:59 mark with Arshdeep Bains and Dawson Barteaux assisting.
Following that, Bains scored with Tarzwell and Barteaux assisting at 4:17.
Medicine Hat recuperated almost a minute later when Forward Bryan Lockner made up for his team’s slow start by finding the back of the net.
Then the Tigers took over and didn’t let up for the rest of the night.
Despite the loss, Head Coach and General Manager Brent Sutter said he wasn’t leaving the rink disappointed. The team did ‘some really good things,’ he said.
“We controlled things in the offensive zone,” Sutter explained. “But just the blatant mistakes that we made managing the pucks. When you have a team that has skilled forwards, they are going to burn you on it and they did tonight.”
So the Rebels paid for their mistakes.
“One player gets tired and we turned the puck over and it ends up in our net. Again, just mistakes you can’t make. You get what you kind of deserve. It’s not like we didn’t compete. It’s not like we didn’t play hard.”
Netminder Ethan Anders wasn’t his trademark puck-stopping whiz self either. In the third period, Sutter switched up Anders for Byron Fancy after the team’s star netminder let five pucks fly by on 20 shots.
“I thought Andy needed to refocus because he just wasn’t sharp,” Sutter said. “It’s one of those nights. The goalie is not going to be razor sharp every night.”
Tiger’s Josh Williams ended the first-period scoring with an assist from James Hamblin, tying the game 2-2.
In the second, the Rebels made another attempt to overtake the Tigers with a third goal from Chris Douglas at the 6:01 mark.
But the Tigers were nowhere near willing to give up.
Tyler Preziuso scored at the 14:13 mark and then Lockner came in with the game-winning fourth goal. Cole Clayton and Hamblin assisted.
The Rebels struggled disappointingly throughout the rest of the game as the Tigers kept tallying up points.
The insurance goal came from Hamblin in a power play with assists from Ryan Jevne and Dyland MacPherson at the end of the second.
Still rallying in the third period, Preziuso scored another goal, followed by a seventh goal, this time by Trevor Longo with assists by Lockner and Logan Christensen.
Fancy stopped 11 pucks in the final 20 minutes. Tigers goaltender Mads Søgaard stopped 25 shots overall.
Red Deer, 16-6-1-0, is still the Central Division’s top team with 33 points.
They host the Prince Albert Raiders Tuesday night at the Centrium at 7 p.m.