REGINA, Sask. — If the Red Deer Rebels can’t find some discipline, GM/head coach Brent Sutter warned ” they’ll be done here in four or five days.”
Some nights this season, the Rebels have been able to battle through multiple penalties and win games. But against the high-powered Regina Pats power play it cost them, again.
The Pats scored four goals on seven power play opportunities Wednesday, en route to a 6-4 win. The Pats have tied the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-2.
“When you’re undisciplined in your game, this is what happens in playoff time,” said Sutter. “It’s been discussed with the group for a while now, but the message hasn’t really gotten through. Now it’s up to them to what they want to do, because if they don’t want to play the right way they’ll be done here in four or five days.
“They’ve been told enough from the coaches about how it has to be done and now the leadership group has to take it and run with it.”
A five-on-three led to two of the Pats goals in the first period. With Jake DeBrusk off for high sticking and Grayson Pawlenchuk off for tripping, the Pats power play connected. Connor Hobbs scored both the five-on-three and the subsequent five-on-four power play goals.
Lane Zablocki also had two power play goals for the Pats, coming on a delay of game penalty to Austin Strand and a checking from behind penalty to Taden Rattie.
Were it not for a flurry of pressure and three goals late in the second and halfway through the third the game would not have been as close as 6-4. The Pats led 5-1 late in the second period when a scramble in front of Pats goalie Tyler Brown ended with a puck in the net.
Luke Philp was give credit for the goal, his second of the post-season. Philp would score again halfway through the third period on a power play. He got a couple of whacks at a loose puck in front of Brown before scoring.
Two goals from Philp and one from Nelson Nogier cut the lead to one goal. Cue the fierce pressure over the last eight minutes of the game with the Rebels pressing hard to tie the game.
“In the third period we were good. We didn’t have to worry about taking penalties in the third because we were skating, moving and making plays,” said Sutter. “There was urgency in their game and we were battling and we had the puck a lot.
“You didn’t have to worry about taking penalties, lazy penalties 200 feet from our net.”
But with Rylan Toth pulled from the net, Sanford iced the game with an empty netter and put an end to the Rebels comeback.
Trevor Martin got the start in net for the Rebels, but after surrendering four goals on 22 shots, he was pulled in favour of Toth, who hasn’t played since Feb. 17 due to injury. He stopped nine of the 10 shots he faced.
Brown made several key saves including a quick glove with five minutes to go, maintaining the one goal lead. Brown made 44 saves in the win.
The series now returns to Red Deer on Friday with game 5 at the Enmax Centrium. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Notes: The Pats remain undefeated at home in the post-season with two wins of the Rebels and two wins over the Lethbridge Hurricanes … After a three point game on Tuesday, Michael Spacek was placed on the starting line with Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Hagel … Colton Bobyk was out of the lineup serving a two game suspension, in his place midget callup Carson Sass to make his WHL playoff debut.