Rebels blow early two-goal lead and fall to Hurricanes
Hurricanes 5 Rebels 3
LETHBRIDGE — The Red Deer Rebels lost count of time once again Friday night.
After jumping out to a 2-0 in the first 10 minutes, the Rebels sat back and watched the Lethbridge Hurricanes notch the next four goals en route to a 5-3 WHL win in front of 4,978 fans at the Enmax Centre.
“Again, we were our own worst enemies,” said Red Deer GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “After they scored their first goal we weren’t good at all and for the whole second period we weren’t good and that’s when they scored on their opportunities.”
A wrap-around attempt by Cam Hausinger came directly out to Akash Bains, who notched his fifth goal of the season 6:06 into the contest, and the visitors went up by two four minutes later when Carson Sass beat ‘Canes netminder Stuart Skinner with a shot from the point.
The second Red Deer goal was a result of faceoff win by newcomer Matt Campese. The puck came to Brandon Cutler, who fed it back to Sass.
But until captain Adam Musil scored late in the game, the Rebels never mounted much of an attack.
Lethbridge forward Jordy Bellerive countered with two goals before the first intermission, beating Rebels netminder Lasse Petersen with a volley from the high slot and then tucking in his own rebound during a power play.
Giorgio Estephan gave the ‘Canes a 3-2 lead 33 seconds into the middle stanza, burying a behind-the-back pass from Wong on a two-on-one break, and Wong gave the hosts a two-goal lead on a five-on-three power play five minutes later.
“We took some bad penalties. They have a good power play and when you put them on four-on-three and five-on-three advantages, you’re asking for trouble, and we got it tonight,” said Sutter.
The Rebels made it interesting when Musil redirected a shot by Evan Polei past Skinner at 13:13 of the third period, but with Petersen on the Red Deer bench in favour of an extra attacker, Estephan sealed the deal with an empty-net goal at 18:18.
The Rebels, for the most part, outplayed their hosts over the final 10 minutes but Sutter hesitated when asked if his club can build off the late surge.
“We’ll have to wait and see if we can play a 60-minute game,” he said. “There was one game in Calgary over the last five weeks where we played for 60 minutes.
“Again, your best players have to be better than other team’s best players and in a lot of these games they haven’t been. They’ve struggled and when that happens you’re asking for trouble.”
Petersen and Skinner each finished with 28 saves.
Sutter didn’t know if Riley Lamb would be in goal Saturday when the Rebels host the ‘Canes in the second half of a home-and-home set.
Lamb was unable to play Friday due to illness, with 2016 WHL bantam draft pick Byron Fancy dressing as the back-up.
The Rebels boss didn’t pin any blame on Petersen.
“He played OK. He made some saves and gave us a chance,” said Sutter.