Rebels extra time woes continue with loss to Tigers
Tigers 4 Rebels 3 (OT)
MEDICINE HAT — Surely eight is enough.
One night after falling to the Edmonton Oil Kings with 12 seconds remaining in overtime, the Red Deer Rebels coughed up a goal with 19 seconds left in the extra period Saturday and dropped a 4-3 decision to the Medicine Hat Tigers before 3,361 fans at the Canalta Centre.
It marked the eighth consecutive time the Rebels have lost a Western Hockey League contest that has extended beyond 60 minutes.
And once again, they were their own worst enemies with the game on the line.
“It was a tough way to lose again,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “In overtime we do things you just can’t do when you’re playing three on three hockey and it’s cost us.”
The Tigers snared the victory when sniper Mark Rassell stripped the puck off defenceman Alex Alexeyev deep in the Red Deer end and roofed a shot over netminder Riley Lamb.
“When you’ve been out there for awhile, just keep it safe,” said Sutter. “Throw it back behind the net and let our other guys have it.
“Instead he tries to make a play when he’s tired, when he’s exhausted, and it ends up in the back of our net.”
The result ruined a spirited third-period comeback for the visitors, who got goals from rookie Arshdeep Bains and veteran Mason McCarty to wipe out a 3-1 deficit.
Bains notched his first-ever WHL goal 48 seconds into the third and McCarty potted his 18th of the season at 17:02. The 20-year-old winger broke in alone on goaltender Michael Bullion, who got a piece of the puck before it trickled over the line.
The Rebels looked good early in the game, but the Tigers found their legs and forced Red Deer starting goalie Ethan Anders to come up with big saves on Rassell, on a breakaway, and Gary Haden just a minute later.
The hosts did break through at 11:31 with a short-handed goal from Haden, who broke to the net and converted a feed from Max Gerlach.
First-year forward River Fahey pulled the Rebels even just under two minutes later with his first WHL marker, putting a short deke on Bullion after streaking to the net and taking a pass from Grayson Pawlenchuk.
Rassell restored the Tigers’ lead with 2:31 remaining in the opening stanza, beating Anders from the high slot, and Tyler Preziuso made it 3-1 late in the second period, his shot from the right circle finding the top of the net.
Anders made 23 saves through 40 minutes before being replaced by Lamb to start the third period.
Sutter said the change was made for two reasons.
“I didn’t think we had a great second period. We discussed it as a staff and thought it would be best to put Lamber in for the third to shake it up a bit,” said the Rebels boss.
“Secondly, I thought there were two goals Andy needed to stop, their second and third goals weren’t good goals on him. Lamber went in and was really solid, he played well in the third.”
Lamb stopped the first 16 shots he faced before relinquishing Rassell’s winner. Bullion made 23 saves as the winning goaltender.
Most frustrating for the Rebels is the fact that too often they’ve left extra points on the table simply due to mental errors.
“It’s right there, it’s just those mistakes we’re making . . . turnovers we’re making on key parts of the ice,” said Sutter. “Some of it is inexperience and some isn’t. It just comes down to hockey sense.”
The Rebels will take part in an off-ice workout Sunday before returning to practice Monday and Tuesday in preparation for a meeting with the Moose Jaw Warriors Wednesday at the Centrium.