Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie

Rebels have to settle for tie at Telus Cup

SAULT STE. MARIE -— After a loss to the host Sault Ste. Marie North Stars on Tuesday evening, the Red Deer Optimist Rebels Chiefs were looking to rebound against the Saskatoon Contacts Wednesday afternoon at the 2013 Telus Cup. The defending champions could not fight off a pesky Contacts team in the late stages of the third period to solidify the victory, and were forced to settle for a 5-5 draw despite holding a 5-3 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the game.

by Jerret Semczyszyn

special to the advocate

SAULT STE. MARIE -— After a loss to the host Sault Ste. Marie North Stars on Tuesday evening, the Red Deer Optimist Rebels Chiefs were looking to rebound against the Saskatoon Contacts Wednesday afternoon at the 2013 Telus Cup.

The defending champions could not fight off a pesky Contacts team in the late stages of the third period to solidify the victory, and were forced to settle for a 5-5 draw despite holding a 5-3 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the game.

Now, heading into Thursday’s matchup against the Valley Wildcats, the Chiefs hold a 1-1-1 record and are flirting with the possibility of not advancing to the elimination round of the national tournament.

Chiefs head coach Douq Quinn was not pleased with the result of the game, especially after jumping to a 2-0 lead early in the first period.

“I was really disappointed,” Quinn said following the tie. “I thought we started the game really well, and then we had some breakdowns and let them right back in it at the end. We got control again, and we had a two-man advantage to start the (third) period, but we couldn’t make any plays out there and we let them off the hook and the panic started to set in.”

Jacob Schofield opened the scoring for Chiefs on a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that beat goaltender over blocker side halfway through the first period.

Red Deer jumped ahead by two goals just over a minute later on a deflection in front by Ian McLellan.

Vukie Mpofu scored one of his two goals for Saskatoon on a shorthanded two-on-one to cut the lead in half.

The Contacts drew even when Kolten Olynek walked out of the right corner and fired one top corner to tie the game 2-2 heading into the first intermission.

Just 30 seconds into the second period, Mpofu beat Chiefs goaltender Jayden Sittler from the point on the power play to make it 3-2 Contacts, and goaltender Matt Zentner entered the game for Red Deer.

Red Deer answered as Trey Degraaf found his own rebound in front of the net and scored to tie the game 3-3.

Jacob Schofield found a loose puck in front on the power play and beat Contacts goaltender Ryan Parenteau to take a 4-3 lead, and Chris Gerrie extended the lead to 5-3 with a shot that beat the Saskatoon net-minder over the blocker before the mid-way point of the second period.

The Chiefs maintained the two-goal lead through the end of the second period and through most of the third period.

Kolten Olynek deflected a point shot past Zentner with 6:15 to bring the Contacts within one, and with 4:27 remaining in the game, Rodney Southam tied the game after taking a cross-crease pass and firing it over Zentner’s left pad.

The game ended in a 5-5 tie. Chase Thudium was named Player of the Game for Red Deer.

Chiefs defenseman Colton Bobyk said his team could not seal the victory late in the third, and they were outworked by the Contacts.

“When it was 5-3, we should have put them away,” Bobyk said. “We just couldn’t bury one, and we let them back in on few bad shifts. They just kept shooting, and they just outworked us.”

In terms of aspects of the Chiefs’ game that needs improvement moving forward in the tournament, Bobyk emphasized the importance of discipline.

“We took too many penalties,” he said. “We need to stay out of the penalty box, because we can beat any team five-on-five.”

Saskatoon head coach Marc Chartier was impressed with his team’s ability to battle back late in the game.

“Our kids have a lot of character,” Chartier said. “You finally saw how Contacts hockey is, in the third period we started to unwrap ourselves a little bit and showed what we’re capable of doing.”

Next action for the Chiefs is Thursday afternoon when they take on the Valley Wildcats. Puck drop is 10:00 a.m.