When you take on a team as good as the Portland Winterhawks, you often need to play perfect or near-perfect hockey in order to beat them.
The Red Deer Rebels found this out the hard way, losing 6-2 to the high flying Winterhawks Friday night at the Enmax Centrium.
“We came out ready to go,” Rebels Associate Coach Jeff Truitt said post-game. “There was a lot of hunger there and pace by our guys. Some good hits. We’ve got to stay with it for 60, just can’t do it for 20 minutes.”
Portland cracked things open 9:07 into the first period when Cody Glass beat Rebels goalie Riley Lamb on a shorthanded breakaway.
Kristian Reichel tied it for Red Deer at the 17:00 mark of the opening period with his 11th goal of the year, and the first Rebels power play goal in three and a half weeks.
Mason McCarty gave the Rebels a 2-1 lead 7:08 into period two when he beat Shane Farkas top shelf for his team leading 13th goal of the year.
That lead lasted just 15 seconds as Glass scored his second of the night to make it 2-2.
Joachim Blichfeld scored his first of three on the night when he finished off a nice passing play from Mason Mannek 11:34 into period two. He added a power play tally at the 19:06 mark.
John Ludvig scored his first WHL goal 2:27 into period three, capitalizing on a superb set up by Kieffer Bellows, before Blichfeld capped off the scoring with his hat trick tally 10:39 into the final frame.
Despite losing by four goals, the Rebels outshot Portland 41-40. The Rebels were 1/9 on the power play while the Winterhawks were 2/9.
“Penalties hurt us in the second half of the game, particularly in the third period,” Truitt noted. “You can’t take foolish penalties against a team like that, they’re going to get on the power play and dictate play. Then we’re chasing and that’s exactly what happened.”
There’s no time for the Rebels to rest as they visit Calgary to battle the Hitmen Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. (106.7 The Drive)
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