Warriors 5 Rebels 1
MOOSE JAW – The Red Deer Rebels were lacking in energy during their Western Hockey League meeting with the Moose Jaw Warriors Tuesday and the shortage of aggression proved costly.
“We just didn’t seem to have a lot of jump or a lot of spark. We were flat tonight,” said Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin, following his club’s 5-1 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors before a crowd of 4,284 at Mosaic Place.
The Rebels were OK through the opening period, surrendering a goal to Sam Fioretti at 11:41 and getting an equalizer from Tyson Ness in the final minute of the frame, but the Warriors took over from there, scoring twice in the second period and adding another two goals in the final stanza.
“We got down early and then scored late in the (first period), so we were in good shape heading into the second,” said Wallin. “But we just didn’t sustain a lot of pressure after that, we didn’t have a lot of spark.”
While they had captain Adam Kambeitz back in uniform after he had missed a long stretch with a high-ankle sprain and also had the services of 15-year-old forward Conner Bleackley, whose midget AAA club — the UFA Bisons — was eliminated from the Alberta League playoffs during the weekend, just the fact the Rebels have been short-handed for several weeks might have played a role in their performance Tuesday.
“You hate to use that as an excuse,” said Wallin. “We had a couple of days off prior to this game. For whatever reason we didn’t have a lot going for us tonight, we didn’t have a lot of good players. We were just flat.”
Fioretti notched a second-period goal for the Warriors, as did Quinton Howden, and James Henry and Travis Brown beat Rebels netminder Deven Dubyk in the final 20 minutes. Dubyk finished with 26 saves, while Luke Siemens stopped 19 shots for Moose Jaw.
The Rebels, who remain 10 points behind the eighth-place Brandon Wheat Kings — who hold down the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference — with two games in hand but only 10 to play, conclude their four-game East Division trip tonight with a date with the Regina Pats.
“We don’t have a lot of time to dwell on this loss,” said Wallin. “We’ve been playing hard and playing well and unfortunately that didn’t happen tonight. We have to park this and get back at it tomorrow.”
The Rebels will return home following tonight’s contest and will be back on the ice Thursday to prepare for home games versus the Swift Current Broncos and Saskatoon Blades Friday and Saturday.