Wheat Kings down Rebels in high scoring affair
Any time the home team scores five goals the fan base expects to be celebrating.
In fact Red Deer Rebels president/general manager/head coach Brent Sutter doesn’t expect anything less.
But the Rebels found a way to score five times and still drop a 6-5 decision to the Brandon Wheat Kings in Western Hockey League play before a disappointed crowd of 5,298 at the Centrium Sunday.
“You score five in a game you have to win, especially at home,” said Sutter, who only had to look at his team’s second-period to find a reason for the loss,.
The Wheat Kings scored four times in the second period against backup netminder Grant Naherniak to take a 5-3 lead into the third period.
“Giving up four goals in one period is uncalled for,” said Sutter.
“That second period really hurt. We were sloppy, all you had to do was look at the goals we gave up. It was a lack of composure in our zone, we didn’t have our work ethic, it was like we were patting ourselves on the back after a good first period.”
The Rebels came out of the first period tied 1-1 but turned in a much better effort than Thursday during a 6-1 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
“We’ve been talking to the kids about competing, playing harder and being more assertive . . . being like the team we were two or three weeks ago. We did that and then we took our foot off the peddle.”
The Wheat Kings did some solid work deep in the Rebels zone to score three straight goals to open the second period.
Taylor Cooper connected at 2:37 and 120:38 and Quinton Lisoway, scored his first career goal at 3:11.
All three goals came within two feet of Naherniak, who could have possibly stopped all three, but didn’t receive any help.
The first two came on plays from behind the net and third directly off the faceoff.
“Unfortunately for Grant all three goals came from the edge of the crease when we left them wide open. That was a lack of composure on our part,” said Sutter.
The Rebels battled back and got goals from Cory Millette and Rhyse Dieno to narrow the gap to 4-3 before Geordie Maguire scored on a nice feed from Eric Roy on a two-on-one at 19:17.
The Rebels came out strong in the third period and goals by Brooks Maxwell, his second power play marker of the game, and Scott Feser, his first WHL goal, tied the game by the 7:01 mark.
However, Michael Ferland, who was playing his second game since returning form the Calgary Flames organization, took the puck off Matt Dumba at the Red Deer blueline and rifled a shot high to Naherniak’s glove side for the winner at 13:08.
“That was again a bad mistake as we twice had the puck on our sticks and turned it over. They were veterans and they have to be better at what they do,” said Sutter.
Brandon head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk was glad to see Ferland come through.
“Mike adds experience to our lineup and he’s scored a lot of goals for us and it was good to see him find the puck and put it in.”
Maxwell opened the scoring and Jason Swyripa tied it on Brandon’s fourth shot, which was the end of the evening for Bolton Pouliot.
“He wasn’t ready to play,” said Sutter. “He can’t allow a soft goal on their first real scoring opportunity. It was the fourth shot and the first three were from the perimeter. The goaltenders have to be held accountable like everyone else in that dressing room, whether it’s Bartosak, Poolie or Grant.”
One of the bright lights for the Rebels was Feser’s goal which he redirected past Brandon netminder Curtis Honey on a two-on-one with Maxwell.
“It feels good,” he said. “I used to sit in the stands when I was a kid and now to do it at home is special.”
The only negative was that the goal didn’t come in a victory.
“The loss wasn’t what we were looking for,” he said. “It was a game with a lot of ups and downs and a game we have to learn from. It shows we have to play for 60 minutes and be more consistent.”
Feser is one who is being more consistent in his second extended appearance with the Rebels. He got playing time last year but this year didn’t have a good training camp and was sent to the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
“I struggled in training camp, and going to Camrose was good for me,” he said. “I give them a lot of credit. I played a lot and it gave me confidence. I think I’ve played well since coming back. My ice time has varied, but I have to be ready to play when I get a chance and I think I can play here. Today I got a few minutes on the top line in the third period and I thought I fit in.”
The win was big for Brandon giving them 32 points and moving them to within three of eighth-place Moose Jaw. The six goals were also something they haven’t seen much of this season.
“It was good for us to find some goals, especially from our younger guys,” said Gylywoychuk. ‘We have a team that needs to score by committee and tonight we did just that.”
The Rebels saw their record slip to 22-15-2-1 as they remain in fourth place with 47 points.
• Rebels are missing defenceman Hadyn Fleury and forward Conner Bleackley, who are at the World U17 Championship, injured rearguard Brady Gaudet as well as forward Jesse Miller and defenceman Riley Boomgaarden . . . Rebels had winger Grayson Pawlenchuk, up from the Sherwood Park midgets, on the roster . . . Forward Connor Bicsis, who was in camp after Christmas, was playing with his midget team, Tisdale, at the Mac’s tournament . . . Rebels visit the Kootenay Ice Wednesday then host Vancouver Friday and Moose Jaw Saturday.