History repeats itself when the Rebels face off against the Medicine Hat Tigers. They lose. Badly.
In their fourth game of the season against the Tigers, the Rebels lost 4-1, ending their three-game winning streak.
“For two periods, outside of a handful of guys, we weren’t very good,” explained Head Coach and General Manager Brent Sutter.
“We were checked out. I thought we were outworked for two periods. Obviously, they get three power-play goals because our specialty teams were just a reflection of our five-on-five play in the first two periods.”
Red Deer started the scoring out early in the first.
Forward Chris Douglas buried the puck at 5:33, catching Tigers netminder Mads Sogaard off guard. It was his 10th goal of the season.
And that’s also about when the Rebels ‘checked out.’
The Tigers rained down with three power-play goals that had Red Deer scrambling for the puck.
Tigers Forward Josh Williams scored the team’s first power-play goal at 14:28 in the first with assists from James Hamblin and Linus Nassen.
The second power-play goal arrived 10 minutes into the second period when Hamblin caught Goalie Ethan Anders off guard with Williams and Nassen assisting.
The third power-play goal came again from Williams at 16:22 with assists from Nassen and Ryan Jevne.
“It’s disappointing to play this way, our last game before the break,” Sutter said.
“You measure your group against top teams. We’ve had some guys here in the last 10 games or so not playing as well as we need them playing. Gotten out of the roles they have to play and how they have to play. When you play a good team – Medicine Hat’s got a good team – you’re going to get nailed for it.”
So what else went wrong? Sutter said the forwards weren’t doing what they were supposed to.
“Forwards not doing their jobs,” he said. “Really, that’s what it was. Basically, their details killing penalties weren’t good tonight with our forwards.”
He added, “Outside of one faceoff or two faceoffs, we started without the puck. If you don’t have the puck, the other team wins the faceoff. When you’re shorthanded and they start right away in the power play, it’s going down the ice and you’re chasing it. It’s killing 20 or 30 seconds of your power play.
“Faceoffs are a big part of the game and tonight our faceoffs weren’t very good.”
In the third period, the Rebels picked up a bit with some strong attempts to score. But Tigers Forward Brian Lockner ended up scoring an empty-net goal in the last minute.
After sustaining an injury Tuesday against the Kamloops Blazers, Forward Alex Alexeyev was back in the game. But he received another blow, a high stick to the face in the second period. Unlike Tuesday’s game, he was back on the ice to finish the game.
Sutter said after their Christmas break the Rebels need to ‘reset’ and ‘refocus.’
“We are still a team being hunted. We’re not the hunter. We’ve got to have everyone dialed in after Christmas and focused, making sure we play to their abilities.”
Off for a short time, Red Deer starts up again on Dec. 28th against the Vancouver Giants at the Centrium.