After Wednesday’s dud in Lethbridge, the Red Deer Rebels had nowhere to go but up.
They turned in a much improved Friday night versus Moose Jaw, outplaying the Warriors at times. Unfortunately, the result was much the same as the Rebels fell 3-0.
“I thought five on five we played well,” Rebels GM and head coach Brent Sutter surmised after the game. “That’s a top team in the league and I thought we did a really good job five on five.”
The first period was somewhat uneventful, which is a good thing if you’re a struggling Rebels team taking on one of the best teams in the league. The Rebels held Moose Jaw to just eight shots on goal in the period.
Moose Jaw broke through for a pair of goals in the second period. The first came just past the six minute mark when Brett Howden, one shift after blocking a shot to prevent a Rebels goal, notched a power play tally.
Tanner Jeannot made it 2-0 when he ripped a high shot past Rebels goalie Riley Lamb with less than 14 seconds remaining in the period.
It seemed liked the Rebels were always ‘that close’ to breaking through for a goal and getting right back in the game. But Warriors goalie Brody Wilms would have none of it. Wilms finished with 27 saves while posting a clean sheet.
Jayden Halbegwachs extended his point streak to 17 games, and sealed the deal for the Warriors with an empty net goal with 1:36 left to play.
The Rebels outshot Moose Jaw 27-25 on the night but went 0/5 on the power play while the Warriors were 1/5.
“You can’t fault our effort here [tonight]. You can’t fault the kids, how hard they played. I was pleased with the work ethic tonight,” Sutter said.
Red Deer has gone 162:02 since last scoring a goal early in period two of their game last Saturday versus Calgary. Their best scoring chance on this night came when Austin Schellenberg rang a backhand deke attempt off the crossbar.
“That could’ve turned the whole game around,” Sutter noted. “But that’s just the way things are going and we’ve just got to keep going and stay with it. If we get this kind of effort and keep playing like this wins will start coming our way and good things will start happening. We can’t get down about it.”
The Rebels are right back in action Saturday night when they take on the Swift Current Broncos at the Enmax Centrium. Game time is 7 p.m. with the radio broadcast on 106.7 The Drive starting at 6:30 p.m.
If nothing else, the Rebels and their fans would love a goal or two to celebrate.
“Coaches don’t teach players how to score goals. They can teach ‘em how to create offence, but a coach can’t put the puck in the net for the individual. So you’ve just got to stay positive and stay with it,” Sutter said.
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