Everyone has to do better.
This was Head Coach and General Manager Brent Sutter’s response to the Rebels’ loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors Saturday night at the Centrium.
Red Deer lost 3-2 in a game that saw even the strongest players fail to gain lasting momentum on the ice.
“It’s snowing out. It’s winter time. It was supposed to be a great day for hockey, but, unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end of the stick,” Sutter explained. “We were obviously outplayed. Our top players weren’t good here tonight. We had no play, let’s face it.”
The team was ‘outplayed and outworked,’ which was obvious by the colossal number of shots on goal the Warriors had compared to the Rebels.
“I don’t know what we had, 12 or 13 shots after two periods and they had 40,” he said. “It tells you we didn’t have the puck a lot.”
Goalie Byron Fancy was the star of the night, making 43 saves while Warriors netminder Adam Evanoff had it easy, only having to save 18 shots.
“Obviously teams go through different periods throughout the year. You go through adversity. It’s just how you work it, make yourself better with it.”
Sutter praised the Warriors for their strong game all night.
“They play a really good team game,” he said. “They are on the right side of the pucks all the time. They don’t give up on odd-man rushes. They keep the game simple. They support each other well.”
Moose Jaw rookie defenceman Daemon Hunt started the scoring out in the first period at the 7:18 mark with assists from Tristin Langan and Justin Almeida.
Brandon Hagel followed that up by finding the back of the net less than a minute later, with Jeff de Wit and Captain Reese Johnson assisting. The goal was his 18th of the year.
Zack Smith made the second goal getting the Rebels ahead, until the beginning of the second when Tate Popple scored for the Warriors with assists from Langan and Brayden Tracey.
The game-winning goal came from Warriors Defenceman Jett Woo with Almeida and Langan assisting.
As the game went into the third period, it was difficult to see how the Rebels could make up the goal, even enough to make it into overtime. The Warriors skated circles around the Rebels and fired puck after puck at their goaltender. Red Deer never got a firm grasp on the puck.
The Warriors now have eight straight wins.
Red Deer faces their fourth loss in five games, which is out of character considering the team was steadily climbing the ranks of the Canadian Hockey League to seventh place almost two weeks earlier.
“It’s a team thing that we have to get better at,” Sutter said. “Everyone has to. Coaches gotta get better. Players gotta get better. Everybody’s gotta get better. Right now, we’ve taken a step back.”
He continued, “We’ve let, maybe, certain things get to our heads. Cheating in areas we shouldn’t be cheating in. And when you play that way in a competitive league and a good league – obviously a very good league – you’re asking for trouble and we’ve been getting it.”
The Rebels host the Regina Pats Friday, Dec. 7th at 7 p.m.