PRINCE ALBERT — The Red Deer Rebels lost track of time too early Wednesday night and the end result was a 4-1 Western Hockey League loss to the host Prince Albert Raiders.
“We didn’t play 60 minutes,” said Rebels general manager/head coach Brent Sutter. “We played a really good first period, it might have been our best period in our last three games. But in the second period we took our foot off the pedal a bit and didn’t play to our level. We took some penalties, they gained momentum and we were playing catch-up after that.”
Reid Gardiner paced the Raiders with a pair of goals, giving the home side a 1-0 lead late in the first period and then closing out the scoring with a power-play tally just short of two minutes into the final frame.
Craig Leverton upped the count to 2-0 at 6:24 of the second period before Rebels forward Matt Bellerive, with his third of the season, cut the deficit to one four minutes later.
Jayden Hart restored the Raiders’ two-goal lead with a power-play goal at 9:16 of the middle period and the hosts never looked back.
The Rebels directed 25 shots at Raiders goaltender Cole Cheveldave while Patrik Bartosak turned aside 27 shots in a losing effort.
“He was OK,” Sutter said of Bartosak’s performance. “He made some big saves but the third (Prince Albert) goal wasn’t a good one,. Still, he made some saves when the score could have gotten out of hand. He gave us a chance to keep it close.”
For a third consecutive game, the Rebels didn’t get enough from their older players.
“They were awful,” said Sutter, making his point clear. “We need more from those guys. The returning veterans have to be better than that.”
The Rebels were minus the services of 20-year-old forward Lukas Sutter, who is listed as week-to-week with an upper body injury suffered in Saturday’s 4-1 loss at Calgary, and veteran defenceman Devan Fafard, who is under an indefinite suspension after being assessed a checking-to-the-head major and game misconduct in the second period of a 4-2 win Tuesday at Saskatoon.
“We’ll know the length of the suspension tomorrow (today),” said Sutter.
The Rebels will resume their four-game East Division road trip Friday with a date with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Red Deer closes out the trip Saturday against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The Rebels’ next game at the Enmax Centrium is Tuesday against the Everett Silvertips, the first of seven consecutive home contests for the club.
The Raiders and the Spokane Chiefs will visit the Centrium Oct. 11 and 12, setting the stage for visits by the Edmonton Oil Kings, Calgary Hitmen, Saskatoon Blades and Kootenay Ice on Oct. 18, 19, 25 and 30.
l Red Deer entered Wednesday’s game as the 10th ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League. The Raiders were ranked second . . . Red Deer was scoreless during three man-advantage situations, while the Raiders were two-for-five on the power play . . . The game drew 2,306 fans to the Art Hauser Centre.