LETHBRIDGE — Rookie goaltenders can be prone to difficult outings, especially 16-year-old stoppers who have next to no major junior experience.
Taz Burman is one such example. The Rebels netminder struggled mightily Tuesday at the Enmax Centre, taking the fall in a 6-0 WHL loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes — winners of only five games this season — while facing 27 shots in front of 2,473 fans.
“I thought our young goalie had a tough night. They scored four goals on their first 14 shots and that kind of took the wind out of some guys’ sails,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “We started the game fine and were outshooting them by quite a bit, then they go down on their first shot and score and two shots later we’re down 2-0.
“I just thought we kind of deflated after that. We weren’t mentally strong enough to fight through it.”
Hurricanes netminder Teagan Sacher held the surging Rebels scoreless through the first half of the opening frame, setting the stage for Reid Duke’s eventual winner goal at 11:36.
Tyler Wong scored on a breakaway just under four minutes later and the hosts added two goals in each of the next two periods. Wong finished with a pair of markers, while Riley Sheen, Reid Nemeth — with his first of the season — and Josh Derko also scored.
Wong’s second goal came after two Rebels — Brady Gaudet and Lukas Sutter — were penalized for roughing at 2:18 of the middle stanza and Derko’s marker midway through the final frame also came via a man advantage.
Sutter replaced Burman — who got the start with veteran Patrik Bartosak laid up with the flu — with emergency back-up Grant Naherniak following the ‘Canes’ fourth goal, then reinserted him after Naherniak stopped all six shots he faced.
“I thought I’m get him back in there and maybe we’d regroup a bit, but he had a tough time here tonight,” said Sutter. “At the same time, I didn’t think we responded very well around him, We just didn’t fight through it like we needed to. Once again, it comes down to the exact same things we’ve talked about over and over with some of these guys. We just need more from a certain group of players.”
The game featured two fights in the first two periods and three more in the final five minutes.
“Our guys got frustrated in the third,” said Sutter.
Burman, who stopped Jamal Watson on a first-period breakaway, finished with 21 saves, while Sacher stopped 35 shots and was named first star of the game.
The teams meet again Saturday at the Centrium.
l Naherniak was summoned from the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals earlier in the day and flew into Calgary, where he boarded the team bus to Lethbridge . . . The Rebels were without injured forwards Grayson Pawlenchuk (week-to-week), Matt Bellerive (week-to-week) and Christian Stockl (indefinite). Pawlenchuk, who underwent surgery for a broken elbow in October, won’t return to action until Dec. 27 when the Rebels host the Calgary Hitmen. As a result, he won’t play in the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge starting Dec. 28 in Nova Scotia as it was predetermined that he would be made available to Team Pacific only if he was declared 100 per cent healthy prior to the Christmas break. Bellerive is also expected to be ready for the Dec. 27 game.