Third period collapse costs Rebels
Blades 4 Rebels 2
SASKATOON — The Red Deer Rebels prevailed Friday night — 4-3 over the host Prince Albert Raiders — due to top-notch special teams play.
Just the opposite occurred 24 hours later in a 4-2 WHL loss to the Saskatoon Blades in front of 3,173 fans at SaskTel Centre.
Trailing 2-1, the Blades pulled even when Gage Ramsay connected from the high slot at 2:18 of the third period with Rebels defenceman Colton Bobyk serving a slashing penalty.
The hosts then got the winner on a short-handed goal by Lukas MacKenzie at 6:58 and sealed the deal with an empty-net marker off the stick of Jesse Shynkaruk with 17 seconds remaining.
“We didn’t play that well in the third. We were OK, but then they got a short-handed goal against us for the winner,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
“It was kind of a reversal from last night when our power play and penalty kill were good. Tonight our penalty kill gave up two goals and our power play gave up a goal.”
The Blades opened the scoring when Michael Farren buried a first-period rebound and held the lead until Evan Polei, from the high slot, scored at 7:04 of the middle frame.
Polei gave the Rebels a 2-1 lead with his 19th goal of the season late in the middle frame, but Ramsay pulled the hosts even early in the third period.
“I thought some guys played well and some guys have to play better,” said Sutter. “But you can’t take a penalty like Bobs took in the third period.”
The Rebels conclude their three-game trip with a Sunday afternoon engagement with the Swift Current Broncos. The Broncos are considered to be outside contenders, unlike the Raiders and Blades.
“If you play the game the right way you’ll get points, if not teams will beat you,” said Sutter. “Tonight, in the third period, we didn’t play the right way in a 2-1 hockey game and you just can’t do what we did or you’ll lose 99 per cent of the time.”