Rebels fall in final game before Christmas break

Tigers 5 Rebels 3

The Red Deer Rebels (16-13-4-2) sung a much more pleasant tune in their final game before the Christmas break, although they didn’t quite top off the night with milk and cookies.

The Medicine Hat Tigers (24-10-1-0) made good on two of their six power play opportunities in their final WHL game before the break, beating the Rebels 5-3 at Canalta Centre.

“The first 20 minutes we played well,” Rebels GM and head coach Brent Sutter said. “I don’t think our game was that good in the second period. In the third it’s 2-2 and six and a half, seven minutes to go, we let it get away on us.”

The Tigers power surge over the Rebels has been deadly this season, with goals in 10 of 28 chances for one of the most dangerous power plays in the WHL.

The Rebels bounced back from their only shutout of the season Friday with three goals, including two, just 37 seconds apart, after it looked like the Tigers had taken full control of the game with a 2-0 lead.

For almost five periods, the Rebels were held scoreless in their last game and a half, before Alexander Alexeyev launched a shot on net that was redirected in by Dawson Martin with just under two minutes left in the second period. Only 37 seconds later, Evan Polei blistered past David Quenneville and out-waited Nick Schneider to tie the game at two with time winding down in the second.

At 12:49 of the third, Matt Bradley scored for the Tigers and made it 3-2, and it was some tired bodies that Sutter said lead to the opportunity.

“We had a power play and some guys stayed out for the full two minutes and they got tired, then we got scored on, on the rush. Simple, it’s not that complicated,” Sutter said of where he thought things went wrong on Saturday.

Max Gerlach then followed that up with the Tigers second power play goal of the night.

In a game where at times the Rebels looked good, discipline appeared to put a stop to momentum, especially in the third period according to Sutter.

Mark Rassell then scored an empty-netter short handed as the Rebels tried to take advantage of a late penalty by the Tigers and pulled the goalie.

Just 25 seconds later, Akash Bains scored on the power play for the Rebels to cut the lead to two. The Rebels power play has gone two for 28 against the Tigers this season.

Riley Lamb made big saves all night long and finished with 38 on 42 shots in the loss.

The Rebels return to the ice on Dec. 27 at home against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

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