The Red Deer Rebels were going to need everything to click when they squared off against WHL leading 30-6-1-2 Moose Jaw Warriors.
The Rebels (10-19-6-2) were coming into the game with no wins in their last five games and only one win in their last 10. Their record was complicated by the fact the Rebels went 0-3 last week, with two of those losses coming to the Edmonton Oil Kings (10-22-4-1) who trail Red Deer in the standings.
The first period was promising despite Rebels netminder Riley Lamb being peppered with 22 Warrior shots.
Mason McCarty would score first for Red Deer when he found the back of the net with 8:09 to play in the period.
The home squad, unfortunately, was unable to bottle the momentum when Warrior Brayden Burke put Moose Jaw on the board with his 19th of the season with 5:32 left to play in the first.
Vince Loschiavo would further deflate the crowd when he beat Lamb for his seventh of the season.
The Rebels went into the second period hoping to stop the bleeding, down 2-1.
The Warriors would continue to pile on the shots in the second frame, putting up 55 to Red Deer’s 13 shots.
The Rebels, however, would keep the game close when Chris Douglas found the back of the net for his third of the season.
The Warriors’ pressure would be too much for the Rebels to sustain the early effort leading to goals by Tristyn DeRoose and Jayden Halbgewachs’ league-leading 41st goal of the season.
The Rebels headed into the intermission searching for a way to limit Moose Jaw’s shot barrage.
Hopes of a turnaround were dashed at the 12:24 mark of the third period when Burke notched his second goal of the game short-handed on a breakaway, bringing the Moose Jaw lead to 5-2 sending some fans to the exits.
The Warriors would keep piling on the shots, eventually scoring their sixth goal on their 66th shot of the game by Ryan Peckford.
The Rebels would finally have the answer after the Warriors picked up two coinciding penalties leading to a five on three. Dawson Barteaux would score his second of the season leading to a 6-3 Moose Jaw lead.
The Rebels would be unable to find any more magic, leading the game’s final conclusion.
“We came to the rink obviously thinking we can’t beat this team,” Rebels Coach Brent Sutter said. “Outside of our goaltender, we had nothing. There were way too many mistakes, too many turnovers, too soft of play and defensively all we did was chase the puck all night.”
Lamb stopped 63 out of 69 shots for the Rebels and was named the first star of the game.
He said it has been a few years since he faced that many shots.
“It was a lot of shots in not that long of time,” he said. “I felt alright but I gave up six goals tonight so it obviously wasn’t ideal.”
Sutter said this is a game that cannot be acceptable.
“One thing I can’t accept is a lack of (competition) or a lack of play-hard. It was an awful night and our last two home games have been like this,” Sutter said.
The Rebels now head out onto the road for a four game road trip against Saskatoon on Jan. 5th, Prince Albert on Jan. 6th, Swift Current on Jan. 7th and Lethbridge on January 9th.