Playing their fourth game in five nights and missing three key players, the Red Deer Rebels came up short in a WHL contest Saturday night at Regina, falling 4-1 to the Pats.
While fatigue likely played a role in the outcome, GM/head coach Brent Sutter said his club was lacking in discipline, reflected in the fact the hosts enjoyed nine power plays before 4,122 fans at the Brandt Centre.
“That (fatigue) certainly had something to do with it, but I think we got caught with taking too many penalties and they scored three power-play goals,” said Sutter. “It might as well have been four power-play goals as their first one was scored just as our guy was coming out of the (penalty) box.”
The Rebels boss was referring to Jesse Gabrielle’s game-opening marker at 15:49 of the first period, scored three seconds after Rebels rearguard Josh Mahura finished serving a tripping penalty.
“We just weren’t very disciplined. Mentally, we weren’t where we needed to be,” said Sutter, whose club was zero-for-four on the power play.
The Pats notched the first of three straight man-advantage goals when Braden Christoffer connected at 6:52 of the second period, and Adam Brooks and Colby Williams tallied at 11:34 and 13:41 of the middle frame.
Rebels defenceman Haydn Fleury ended the shutout bid of Pats rookie netminder Tyler Brown when his point shot two minutes into the third period wound its way through traffic and into the back of the net.
The Rebels opened the four-game road trip with wins at Prince Albert and Saskatoon, then lost at Swift Current and Regina to close out the jaunt at 2-2.
“We certainly had our opportunities to win Game 3 of the trip,” said Sutter, in reference to Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Broncos in which his club held a 37-21 advantage in shots. “Their goalie (Landon Bow) was definitely the story of the game.
“Then last night we needed to be more disciplined than we were. We really didn’t give up a whole lot, but their power play moved the puck well and capitalized on our penalties.”
Missing forwards Conner Bleackley and Evan Polei and — for the third consecutive game — defenceman Colton Bobyk, due to injuries, the Rebels directed only 24 shots at Brown. Rylan Toth faced 37 shots in the Red Deer net.
Bleackley (lower body) and Bobyk (upper body) are listed as day-to-day but neither is expected to play against the host Edmonton Oil Kings Wednesday.
Bleackley has been out since Feb. 6 and has missed seven games, while Bobyk was injured during Tuesday’s match at Prince Albert and was returned to Red Deer the following day for treatment.
“Both of them are going to need some practice time, so I don’t think either guy will play Wednesday,” said Sutter.
Polei, has missed 12 games due to a lower-body injury and could be back in the lineup in two weeks.
The Rebels host the Raiders and the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday and Saturday.