Win so close, yet so far away

The Red Deer Rebels’ Western Hockey League losing streak extended into the dreaded double figures Tuesday in a devastating fashion.

Warriors 6 Rebels 5

MOOSE JAW — The Red Deer Rebels’ Western Hockey League losing streak extended into the dreaded double figures Tuesday in a devastating fashion.

The Rebels appeared to be in good shape when Tyson Ness potted his sixth goal of the season at 14:12 of the third period for a 4-3 lead over the Moose Jaw Warriors, but Quinton Howden replied for the hosts a mere 22 seconds later and then scored the winner with 4.8 seconds remaining.

“I can’t believe the things that are happening right now,” said Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin after the 6-5 loss, his club’s 10th consecutive setback. “The boys battled their asses off tonight and it was just a heart-breaker. What more can you say? It looked like we were at least going to get it to overtime.”

Instead, the Rebels’ winless streak continued, a string of futility they will attempt to snap tonight when they conclude their four-game East Division road trip against the Swift Current Broncos.

Moose Jaw led 2-0 after one period on goals from Travis Brown and Carter Hansen, then watched the Rebels strike for three goals in the first 12 minutes of the second period — courtesy of Joel Hamilton, Marc McCoy and Justin Weller.

Dallas Erhardt got one back for the Warriors before the period ended, but Mathew Dumba restored Red Deer’s lead at 5:46 of the third period. From there, Warriors defenceman Kendall McFaull scored just over four minutes later, setting the stage for the Ness goal and the late pair from Howden.

“We have the late lead (on Ness’ goal) and they come right back and score on the same shift on a seeing-eye shot from the point that finds its way through two of our guys and ends up in the net,” said Wallin. “They scored three goals from the point tonight. They were all shots that somehow eluded a bunch of bodies and found the net.”

The winning goal came off another unlikely play.

“They got the puck behind our net, then their guy (Andrew Johnson) throws a no-look backhand that goes through two of our players and right onto the tape and it’s a one-timer right into the net,” said Wallin. “The bounces seem to be going the wrong way for us, but we can’t control that. All we can control is our work ethic and if we continue to work and concentrate on the details it’s going to turn our way.

“We just have to stay with it. I thought our effort was great tonight and we just have to continue to battle.”

Moose Jaw goaltender Luke Siemens stopped 20 shots while Patrik Bartosak made 29 saves for Red Deer.

On a positive note, the likes of rookies Hamilton and McCoy were bright lights for the Rebels.

“We got great efforts out of a lot of young kids,” said Wallin. “These kids are stepping up for us and playing their hearts out and they’re going to be better for it in the long run. We just have to continue to work at it and work through it.”

Forward Turner Elson has completed his six-game suspension and will be in the Rebels lineup tonight. Forwards Adam Kambeitz and Daulton Siwak and defenceman Aaron Borejko are still out with injuries.

The Rebels’ next home game is Friday versus the Brandon Wheat Kings.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com