Rebels slip in second period, fall 4-2 to ‘Canes
Hurricanes 4 Rebels 2
LETHBRIDGE — At first glance, it seemed that the Red Deer Rebels deserved a better fate Wednesday night.
The Rebels outshot — 32-19 — and outchanced the Lethbridge Hurricanes in a WHL outing witnessed by 3,354 fans at the Enmax Centre, yet came out on the short end of a 4-2 count.
Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter, however, wasn’t of the opinion that his club was deserving of a reverse outcome.
“When you play soft offensively it’s tough to score goals,” said the Rebels boss. “Too many soft plays in the offensive zone where you don’t capitilize on scoring chances because of soft hockey. There’s no hardness in it, you don’t bear down.”
The Rebels owned an 11-4 shots advantage in a scoreless opening period and finally got on the board when Ben King took a drop pass from Arsheep Bains and rang a shot off the post and in at 3:43 of the second period.
But the Hurricanes roared back with goals from Noah Boyko, Justin Hall and Alex Thacker — on the power play — in just under a five-minute span to take control of the contest.
“I wasn’t happy with 10 minutes in the second period when they got all their goals,” said Sutter.
“It was three goals on seven shots and you can’t blame Byron (Rebels goalie Fancy) on any of them. We started playing sloppy and giving up scoring chances. Every scoring chance we gave up was quality. That’s not good enough.”
Jace Isley notched his first WHL marker at 11:02 of the middle frame to pull the Rebels within one and the visitors had a great chance to pull even when presented with a five-on-three advantage for 72 seconds early in the third period.
Red Deer, however, failed to convert on the extended opportunity and gave up a late power play goal to Zack Stringer to seal the deal.
“You have a five-on-three (power play) in a 3-2 game, you have to capitalize on that,” said Sutter.
“We make goalies look good because we don’t do a good enough job in tough areas in the offensive zone. We played well in our zone for the most part, but got sloppy and started turning pucks over and they created stuff off the rush.
“It’s the turnovers and softness in the offensive zone . . . not getting into the tough areas to score. We’re not bearing down because we’re soft on pucks and not protecting pucks well enough.
“There are certain ways to score goals. They don’t all have to be pretty.”
The loss was the Rebels’ second in a row after winning three straight.
“It’s a frustrating loss for us. We can’t keep saying we’re young, we need to win games,” said Sutter. “We need to be better. We can’t be losing these games.”
Fancy made 15 saves while Bryan Thomson stopped 30 shots for Lethbridge.
The Rebels conclude the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule Friday and Saturday at home against the Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos.