Cougars 3 Rebels 1
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – With an assortment of top-end players out of the lineup, the Red Deer Rebels had to cash in on their scoring opportunities while keeping their defensive miscues to a bare minimum in Wednesday’s WHL clash with the Prince George Cougars.
But the injury-riddled Rebels were unable to hit either of their single-game targets and fell 3-1 to the Cougars before a sparse crowd of 1,642 at the CN Centre.
“It’s so frustrating. We gave up a goal in the first 10 minutes and then once we got going we had a lot of good opportunities, a number of good scoring chances,” said Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin.
“It’s just frustrating that we couldn’t take advantage of those chances,”
The Rebels outshot their hosts 39-20 overall – including 31-15 over the first two periods — but never led in the contest.
Spencer Asuchak gave the Cougars a lead with a power-play tally 4:48 into the contest and Cory Millette, with his ninth of the season, pulled the Rebels even at 12:32 of the middle frame.
The Cougars got the eventual winner from Cody Carlson midway through the third period and an insurance goal from Troy Bourke with 81 seconds remaining.
“We made a big mistake on the winning goal. It was a tough way to lose a game,” said Wallin.
“It just came down to details . . . a couple of mistakes killed us tonight. With our manpower situation, we can’t afford to make mistakes.
“Every game is going to be tight and we have to be at our best with what we have.
“On one hand we played well tonight but on the other hand we made a couple of mistakes that really cost us, plus we didn’t take advantage of our (scoring) chances.”
Rebels netminder Deven Dubyk stopped 17 shots while Drew Owsley, who has been the Cougars’ best player game in and game out this season, made 38 saves and was named first star of the game.
“Owsley made some big saves for them. He was very good tonight,” said Wallin, whose team continues its four-game B.C. Division swing Friday at Kamloops.
l The Rebels’ playoff hopes were dealt a further blow Wednesday when the Brandon Wheat Kings won 4-2 at Lethbridge to move eight points clear of ninth-place Red Deer in the Eastern Conference. The Rebels have three games in hand on Brandon.