What was once a best-of-seven series, has turned into a best-of-three.
Splitting the first four games, the Red Deer Rebels and Regina Pats took a one day breather before renewing hostilities tonight at the Enmax Centrium.
With their Western Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal series tied at 2-2, the series will come down to whoever wins two of the next three.
And for the Rebels to have success, they have to find some discipline.
“With the penalties we took, we shouldn’t expect to win this time of year,” said Haydn Fleury, Rebels defenceman.
“We have to tighten up those penalties in the offensive zone. We felt we’ve been a solid team five-on-five, we’ve done some good things five-on-five, but we have to stay out of the penalty box.”
In game 4, the Rebels took seven penalties. The Pats’ top-ranked power play, this post-season, capitalized on four of those short-handed chances. In game 3, the Rebels took seven penalties as well, but the Pats scored on two of those. This series, the Pats have scored 11 times on 25 power play opportunities.
“We’ve talked about discipline the entire series, myself included especially in that last game. Those two penalties were unacceptable,” said Rebels forward Jake DeBrusk. “I have to be better with my stick.
“Discipline has been the biggest thing in this series and their power play has been lethal. We have to stay out of the box and play them straight up and go to work.”
Goalie Rylan Toth, the Rebels starter for the majority of the season, returned to the lineup Wednesday night. He missed the last two months with a lower-body injury. He started as the backup behind Trevor Martin, but after Martin surrendered four goals on 22 shots he was pulled in favour of Toth.
“I’m not going to lie, I was a little rusty,” said Toth.
“I felt I was in good shape, but once you get in the game flow and when they have the puck in your zone for a while, it’s a little tiring. Overall I felt pretty good.”
Martin has started every playoff game so far for the Rebels. He said the guys in front of him helped him settle in and succeed this post-season.
“You can’t really control the decisions (Brent Sutter, Rebels GM/head coach) makes, you can only go out and play your game,” said Martin. “Toth, when he goes in, he’s a good goalie and we’re good friends on and off the ice. It’s a good competitive, friendly rivalry.”
Game 5 happens tonight at the Centrium. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Notes: Colton Bobyk has one more game left on his suspension for “his actions” at the end of game 3.