Red Deer Rebels fall to Tri-City Americans
Americans 5 Rebels 2
KENNEWICK, Wash. — The Red Deer Rebels did not follow their blueprint for success on Saturday night at the Toyota Center.
“We just weren’t the same team we were the night before. We didn’t play with aggression,” said Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin, whose club followed an impressive 3-1 win at Spokane on Friday with a 5-2 loss to the Tri-City Americans.
“Our game plan was the same (as at Spokane), we wanted to go out and make sure that we made it a hard night for them (Americans) and play a solid road game. We were up against a good-skating team and we wanted to be physical against them and make sure we got pucks behind them.
“We just didn’t execute our game plan. We played too soft of a game. We didn’t finish enough checks, we weren’t assertive in our own end of the rink and we didn’t take care of the puck.”
And yet, the Rebels were right there after two periods, trailing just 3-2 before 4,505 fans.
“We were still right in the game, but we gave up an early goal in the third period off a bad turnover at the offensive blueline,” said Wallin.
Indeed, Red Deer product and Tri-City captain Justin Feser potted what proved to be an insurance marker 2:06 into the final frame and Brian Williams notched his second of the night — into an empty net — with 1:52 remaining.
Feser also scored in the second period, while Tyson Dallman accounted for the other Tri-City goal. Cody Thiel, with his first of the season, connected for Red Deer in the opening stanza and captain Turner Elson notched his sixth in the middle frame.
Bolton Pouliot started in the Red Deer net and stopped 23 of 27 shots before being replaced by Patrik Bartosak for the final 17 minutes. Bartosak stopped all 10 shots he faced.
“We wanted to create a spark,” said Wallin of the goaltending switch. “We wanted to get some life, get that next goal and turn the momentum around a bit.”
It didn’t happen.
“We just didn’t play well enough,” said Wallin, whose club directed 19 shots at Americans netminder Eric Comrie.
The Rebels continue their five-game road trip on Tuesday at Portland, where defenceman Brandon Underwood will likely return to the Red Deer lineup after missing two games with bursitis in his knee.
Meanwhile, forward Charles Inglis will be a game-time decision after sitting out two games with a case of strep throat.
Following Tuesday’s meeting with the Winterhawks, the Rebels will take on the Everett Silvertips 24 hours later and will close out the trip with a Friday engagement with the Kelowna Rockets.
Red Deer’s next home game is Nov. 17 versus the Swift Current Broncos.
• Team B.C. captured gold in the Western Canada Under 16 Challenge Cup at Calgary on Sunday, thumping Team Alberta — coached by Rebels assistant Bryce Thoma — 9-3.
Rebels prospect Taz Burman stopped 33 shots for the B.C. squad, while another Rebels hopeful, Grayson Pawlenchuk, picked up an assist and was named player of the game for Alberta.
In the bronze-medal game earlier in the day, Saskatchewan shaded Manitoba 2-1. Rebels prospect Meyer Nell scored the lone goal in a losing cause.
On Saturday, Red Deer’s No. 1 pick in this year’s, David Musil, earned an assist to help B.C. defeat Manitoba 5-2. Nell picked up a helper for Manitoba.
Meanwhile, Alberta advanced to the championship game with a 3-0 victory over Saskatchewan. Pawlenchuk scored once for the winners.