It was a much stronger performance by the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday night, however goals and ultimately points evaded them when all was said and done.
Moose Jaw scored twice in the second period en route to a 2-1 victory handing the Rebels their fifth loss in a row, and seventh in their last eight home games.
"You can't look at our effort and say it wasn't great. We played hard and don't get rewarded, but that's just the way the hockey gods work," head coach Brent Sutter said post-game.
"I told the kids they'll never have a problem with me if they work that hard."
After 20 minutes of play, the teams were scoreless, though the Rebels had outshot the Warriors 13-7, a recurring theme on this night as Red Deer wound up firing 48 pucks the way of Adam Evanoff.
In the second, it was just over eight minutes in when Rebels rookie Oleg Zaytsev was given a two minute minor for checking to the head.
Video credit: the WHL
It wasn't until 13:03 of the period when a goal was finally scored, Warriors rookie Brayden Tracey scoring his 24th of the season to put his team ahead 1-0.
Just 3:41 later, Moose Jaw was at it again as Warriors leading scorer Tristin Langan would notch his 17th to make it 2-0. With the goal, Langan reached 85 points in 50 games this season, second best in the WHL.
Despite piling on 18 more shots in the third, Red Deer was unable to beat Evanoff until it was too little, too late.
It was 19:19 of the period when Brett Davis scored his 17th of the season, and 10th in 24 games since being acquired by the Rebels earlier this season from Kootenay.
The goal was a historic one as Brandon Hagel would pick up his 162nd career assist, the most all-time by any Red Deer Rebels player. Hagel surpasses Arron Asham who recorded 161 assists in 266 games. Hagel has now played 243.
Hagel also had eight shots on the night and was named second star in addition to receiving a warm ovation from the fans when his record was announced by the public address announcer.
"It's something special I think to do it with this jersey on. I've been here for four years and this organization has treated me with nothing but the best. I'm super excited I was able to do it here," Hagel said, also giving Asham praise.
"He was an unbelievable player. Wow, I don’t even know. I can't even say words right now."
Asham ultimately had 292 points in his 266 career games, a mark Hagel is now 38 points from matching with 17 games to go. He could also pass Justin Mapletoft for second in all-time points at 275.
"We definitely took a step," Hagel added of the Rebels' on-ice performance. "We're in the middle of something right now, but tonight was definitely a step out of it."
In his second game back from injury, Alexander Alexeyev stretched his point streak to seven games, a span in which he has eight assists.
Up next for the Rebels is a date with Spokane as they embark on a six-game road trip through the US Division and concluding in Edmonton. The match-up with the Chiefs goes Feb. 12 with puck drop at 8:05 p.m. MT. The broadcast can be heard LIVE on 106.7 The Drive starting at 7:55.
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