Rebels push Oil Kings but come up short following quick turnaround
Oil Kings 6 Rebels 4
EDMONTON — All things considered, that the Red Deer Rebels were able to cause some anxious moments for the Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday afternoon at Rogers Place was somewhat impressive.
Despite an extremely quick turnaround — the Rebels downed the Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-4 in overtime Friday night while the Oil Kings were idle — the visitors had some decent pushback in a 6-4 Western Hockey League loss witnessed by 9,595 fans.
As well as the lack of rest the Rebels had following Friday’s game, they watched teammate Kalan Lind go down following a collision not even two full minutes into the contest. He was transported off the ice on a stretcher and thankfully was able to stay at the rink instead of being taken to hospital.
Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk wasn’t using the mere hours between games as an alibi.
“I guess I don’t care about the short turnaround that much. That’s not my job nor our players to be making excuses for ourselves,” he said. “I don’t care about the short turnaround and I hope they don’t either.”
As far as the Lind incident . . .
“To see Lind go down there I think it caught our bench off a bit early in the game to see that as it happened,” said Konowalchuk. “It was just a different feeling on the bench when that happened. From there it was kind of a weird game.”
Justin Sourdif notched back-to-back goals for the hosts six minutes apart in the first period, sweeping home a loose puck in the low slot and then beating netminder Connor Ungar high to the glove side.
The Rebels, though, rallied with two goals of their own before the period ended. Christoffer Sedoff, on the power play, buried a second rebound from 20 feet out and then assisted on a marker by Jace Isley, who scored on a redirect.
Tyler Horstmann restored Edmonton’s lead when he cut across the crease and buried 4:09 into the middle frame, and the Oil Kings went up 5-2 with Rebels forward Frantisek Formanek serving a major penalty for kneeing.
Dylan Guenther and Carter Souch scored during the lengthy power play and the three-goal lead proved to be too much to overcome.
“You’d certainly like to give up maybe just one there for sure,” said Konowalchuk. “That was a big part of the game. They have some good skill. You have to stay out of the box as much as possible.”
Ben King notched his 50th goal of the season with Red Deer on the power play late in the period, catching the far side of the net behind goaltender Kolby Hay, but Guenther, from the front edge of the crease, restored the Oil Kings’ three-goal cushion in the final minute of the frame.
The Rebels potted the lone goal in the third period, with Arshdeep Bains chipping the puck past Hay.
“Mentally there were some mistakes, but I thought there was some good effort from our guys,” said Konowalchuk. “For the most part our guys didn’t give up and kept fighting to get back in the game.”
Konowalchuk wasn’t completely aware of Lind’s condition following the game.
“But from everything I’ve heard he’s walking. All things considered he’s doing pretty good,” said the Red Deer bench boss.
“I haven’t talked to the trainer but Kalan is up and moving around and seems to be doing well. That being said I don’t know the level of his condition. It looked like it could have been worse.”
Notable: Both clubs were two-for-five on the power play . . . Sedoff, King and Bains each recorded a goal and two assists. Bains improved to a league-leading 105 points, three ahead of King and six up on Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers, who hosted the Portland Winterhawks later Saturday . . . Ungar made 47 saves in a losing cause. Hay turned aside 27 shots for the hosts, while Sebastian Cossa stopped all three shots he faced early in the third period before Hay returned to the Edmonton net . . . The Rebels conclude regular season play next week, visiting the Calgary Hitmen Wednesday and hosting the Oil Kings Saturday.