The Red Deer Rebels played well enough to win in Lethbridge but sometimes a hot goalie has other ideas.
Hurricanes goalie Stuart Skinner turned aside 44 shots in a 3-1 win at the Enmax Centre on Saturday.
“We had some phenomenal scoring chances that we didn’t capitalize on,” said Rebels’ GM and head coach Brent Sutter. “Their goalie certainly played outstanding for them. When you fire 45 shots on the road and you only gave up 34 – the amount of chances we generated we just couldn’t capitalize. It’s tough when you play that well, I thought our team game was really good.”
Ethan Sakowich scored his third goal of the year, and the only one of the night for Red Deer after the Rebels fell behind 2-0 early in the second period.
Normally a defenceman, Sakowich was forced to play forward for the Rebels with Brandon Hagel out with an injury and Michael Spacek was out sick.
“We just have to stay with it. Our power play needed to be the difference tonight,” Sutter said.
The Rebels’ power play failed to convert on four chances.
“We needed to get something on that,” said Sutter. “The production on our power play hasn’t been good enough. It’s 16th in the league and it has to be a difference maker in the second half with the quality players we have on it. Our overall team game, our effort was outstanding tonight.”
The head coach added that his team needs to do a better job of executing in those specialty areas, like two-on-ones, three-on-twos, power plays and penalty kills, as they will make the difference later in the season.
“Those are the type of things that hurt you… when you don’t get production out of those types of things in games at some point it’s going to nail you in the butt. I thought tonight it hurt us,” he said.
Sutter said if one or two breaks go the Rebels’ way on Saturday night, the score could have been a different one.
“Couldn’t get any luck around the net. Hit three or four posts tonight, it was just one of those games where you lose and you thought you deserved better,” he said.
Rebels netminder Riley Lamb was out shined by Skinner, but still made 32 saves in the loss, and kept Red Deer in the game throughout the contest.
Tyler Wong continued to torch the Rebels, with two goals on the night for 10 points against Red Deer this season.
The Rebels are back on the ice Tuesday to host the B.C. division leading Prince George Cougars at the Centrium.