Rebels overcome sloppy second period to beat Blades
Rebels 4 Blades 3 (OT)
Red Deer Rebels captain Adam Musil came to the rescue at precisely the right time Wednesday.
Musil notched his eighth goal of the season in overtime to give the Rebels a 4-3 Western Hockey League win over the Saskatoon Blades in front of a recorded audience of 4,008 at the Centrium.
The St. Louis Blues prospect broke out on a two-on-one with Michael Spacek in the extra period and after his teammate was stopped by Blades netminder Brock Hamm, Musil shovelled home the rebound.
“Just gave it to Michael and let him do his magic,” said Musil, describing the play that led to the winner. “I just got a lucky bounce and flicked it over his (Hamm’s) pad.”
While the Rebels were able to battle back from a 3-1 third-period deficit to record their 13th victory of the season, GM/head coach Brent Sutter wasn’t impressed.
Sutter was particularly peeved with his club’s sloppy, turnover-filled second-period performance.
“Truthfully?”, Sutter queried, when asked his assessment of the game. “I’m not a very happy camper right now. I wasn’t happy at all with the way we played the second period.
“We took some dumb penalties. We do self-inflicted things that hurt us and we don’t stick to what allows us to be a good team.”
With the exception of the opening frame and most of the third period, the Rebels were far from a good team.
“We played well in the first period and did some good things in the third,” said Sutter. “When we keep the game simple, play straight lines, do things right and have a good transition where we’re getting pucks back up the ice, we play well and we’ve proven it at different times this year.”
The Rebels struck first when Musil tipped Colton Bobyk’s power-play point shot past Hamm at 15:23 of the opening period, but the visitors responded just 56 seconds later when Wyatt Sloboshan took a stretch pass from Nolan Reid and beat Rebels goaltender Lasse Petersen on a breakaway.
The Blades outshot their hosts 9-8 in the second period and notched the only goal of the stanza, Jackson Caller firing a wrist shot from the blueline that eluded a screened Petersen.
The Rebels were too busy playing a one-on-one, misdirected style in the period to mount much of an attack. That pattern of play led to giveaways, which also held them back.
“When we start playing east-west in the neutral zone we start turning pucks over,” said Sutter, pointing out that Spacek and linemate Brandon Hagel were two of the bigger culprits.
“I thought Spacs and Hages struggled with that tonight,” said the Rebels boss. “I thought there were way too many turnovers by both of them, plus our defence over-handled pucks.”
The third period started on a negative note for the home squad when Blades forward Gage Ramsay cashed a power-play rebound at 5:40, knocking a bouncing puck past Petersen.
Evan Polei got the Rebels untracked 17 seconds later, fighting off a check along the side boards, moving to the edge of the right circle and whipping a shot to the far corner.
From there, Austin Pratt knotted the count at three at 9:39, wheeling and unleashing a volley from the left circle that beat Hamm to the short side.
That set up a back-and-forth and sometimes circumspect overtime frame which Musil ended at 3:41.
“I thought we actually started off pretty good, then we kind of took our foot off the pedal in the second period,” said Musil. “We have to be more consistent. It’s something we have to work on but it’s a good win for us.
“If we just stick to our structure and play to our identity good things will happen. That’s what happened (in the third period) and we got rewarded for that.”
Sutter didn’t necessarily feel that his club was worthy of the positive result.
“If we play the right way and play within what we are as a group, then we’re good,” he said. “But as soon as we get off that page and play a different way like we did in the second period, we become a below average hockey team.
“We’re very fortunate to get two points here tonight. Truthfully, I didn’t feel like we deserved it.”
Petersen turned aside 21 shots while posting his fifth win of the season — and fourth as a Rebel — while Hamm made 31 saves.
The Rebels return to action Friday when they take on the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. The clubs meet again Saturday at the Centrium.