There’s a fine line between winning and losing in the Western Hockey League, Brent Sutter pointed out Friday night.
Sutter’s Red Deer Rebels fell below that line for the seventh straight time as they fell 4-2 to the Regina Pats at the Enmax Centrium.
A miserable stretch hockey has seen the Rebels earn just one win in their last 14 games.
Regina got on the board early with a power play goal from Sam Steel 3:36 into the first period.
Jake Leschyshyn, a former first round bantam draft pick of the Rebels, gave the Pats a 2-0 lead at the 14:09 mark.
The first half of the second period was uneventful for the most part, then the Pats got themselves into penalty trouble and the Rebels took advantage.
After Pats goalie Tyler Brown made several superb saves, Jacob Herauf broke through for a power play goal at the 13:44 mark. Dawson Barteaux and Lane Zablocki, a pair of former Pats, assisted on Herauf’s first ever WHL goal.
With the Rebels looking to even things up in the third period, the Pats earned some much needed breathing room as a shot from Nick Henry banked off of Matt Bradley and past Rebels goalie Ethan Anders for a 3-1 lead with 5:25 left to play.
Reese Johnson made things interesting when he fired home his 10th goal of the season with 2:06 left to play.
But Sam Steel killed that buzz with an empty net goal in the final minutes to seal the deal for Regina.
Regina outshot Red Deer 31-23 on the night and went 2/2 on the power play while the Rebels were 1/4.
“It wasn’t a lack of effort. The kids played hard,” Sutter noted. “We still need some guys to be better for us. I still know some guys are better players than the way they’re playing. But overall our team effort was good tonight.”
Sutter said better results will making life harder on their opponents.
“It seems that trench type work, where you’ve got to battle and get your nose dirty, sometimes we’re just soft in those areas and we have some guys that just gotta work through that.”
The Rebels will try to end their lengthy losing skid Saturday night when they host the Calgary Hitmen at the Enmax Centrium at 7 p.m. 106.7 The Drive has the broadcast starting at 6:30 p.m.
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