Rebels drop second straight in tough loss to Canes

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
February 2, 2019 - 10:31am

For the first time this season, one team in the battle between the Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes actually ran away with a game.

On Friday in Lethbridge, the Canes earned a big 6-2 win as they fight with Red Deer and two other teams for top spot in the Central Division.

Prior to the matchup, the teams had faced each other four times this season. Lethbridge won 5-4 in overtime Dec. 2 before Red Deer returned the favour 5-4  via the shootout on Jan. 2. 

The Rebels won 3-1 on the road Jan. 18 (with an empty netter), and Lethbridge evened the season series by winning 2-1 the next night in Red Deer.

On Friday, the Hurricanes got out to an early lead with Jake Leschyshyn scoring his 28th just 5:39 into the 1st period. Before the period was out, Nick Henry made it 2-0 with his 19th.

In the middle frame, the Rebels Josh Tarzwell notched his 7th 2:03 in to cut the lead to just one.

However, Leschyshyn got his 2nd of the night and 29th of the season just 3:17 later to restore the two-goal cushion. Nick Henry also struck again for his 20th at 9:46 to make it 4-1 Canes.

CHL Top Prospect Oleg Zaytsev clawed the Rebels back ever so slightly with a goal at 14:57, and it was 4-2 after two periods of play.

In the third, the Rebels couldn't muster a comeback.

At 3:12 and again at 14:40, Igor Merezhko scored his 2nd and 3rd goals of the season, the first of which came on the powerplay, while the latter was shorthanded and into an empty net.

Brandon Hagel earned one assist on the night moving him into a tie for 2nd on the Rebels all-time assists list with Justin Mapletoft. Each of them have 160. The record is 161 held by Aaron Asham. Hagel also currently sits 4th in WHL scoring with 75 points in 47 games, 15 behind the leader Joachim Blichfeld.

Zaytsev also added a helper giving him two points on the night and 31 this season in 46 games. That is 4th best among rookies. His assists total (22) is also third most by WHL freshmen.

In net, Ethan Anders stopped 16 of 20 shots and played 29:46 before being pulled. Byron Fancy played 24:11 stopping 7/8.

The Central Division standings now look like this heading into Saturday night action: Edmonton (64), Lethbridge (60), Red Deer (59), Medicine Hat (58-Wild Card 1), Calgary (55-Wild Card 2), Kootenay (30). Red Deer has game(s) in hand on all of their rivals.

All except for Kootenay play on Saturday.

For Red Deer, the Calgary Hitmen are in the house at the Westerner Park Centrium tonight for a 7 p.m. puck drop. The broadcast can be heard LIVE on 106.7 The Drive starting at 6:30.


"Lazy hockey" stymies the Rebels against surging Hitmen

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