Rebels head into Christmas break on negative note
Tigers 5 Rebels 3
MEDICINE HAT — The Red Deer Rebels were right where they wanted to be following 20 minutes of action Saturday night.
The Rebels looked like the better team during a scoreless first period of a WHL clash with the host Medicine Hat Tigers.
They visitors also showed some impressive pushback in the middle frame, but in the end the Tigers pulled out a 5-3 victory at the Canalta Centre.
“In the first period we played exactly how we want to play,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “In the second we took our foot off the pedal and let them take the game to us.
“We chased the game a lot in the second period.”
After the Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the middle frame on goals by Max Gerlach and David Quenneville, the Rebels roared back to tie the game with goals in the final two minutes of the period.
Dawson Martin deflected a shot by Alexander Alexeyev past Tigers goaltender Nick Schneider, and less than a minute later Evan Polei struck on a nifty individual effort.
The score held up until the latter half of the middle frame, when Tigers forward Matt Bradley sniped the eventual winner — beating Rebels netminder Riley Lamb with a rising shot — and Gerlach potted his second of the game, on the power play, shortly after.
“In the third it’s 2-2 with seven minutes left. We have a power play and don’t get anything done on it,” said Sutter. “Our guys stay out a full two minutes, they’re tired and they (Tigers) come down off a rush and score on it.
“We didn’t play smart at all the last 10 minutes of the game.”
Mark Rassell added an empty-net marker for the hosts and Akash Bains scored a late goal for the Rebels to close out the contest.
“It’s not the way we want to play. We can’t be happy with this weekend at all,” said Sutter, referring also to Friday’s 3-0 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets. “At the end of the day we only played two good periods out of six.”
The Rebels are idle until Dec. 27 when they host the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Sutter will be looking for better efforts from his veteran skaters following the Christmas break.
“Some of the guys need to be better, no question, especially guys that fall into the category of being our best players,” said Sutter. “I thought Evan Polei was outstanding tonight, but some of our other top guys struggled.”