Slow start sinks Rebels against Silvertips

Facing a team that had lost just once in regulation time this season, the Red Deer Rebels couldn’t afford a slow start against the Everett Silvertips Wednesday. But the Rebels stumbled out of the gate, giving up three unanswered first-period goals, and eventually dropped a 6-3 Western Hockey League decision to the ‘Tips in front of 3,123 fans at Comcast Arena.

EVERETT, Wash. — Facing a team that had lost just once in regulation time this season, the Red Deer Rebels couldn’t afford a slow start against the Everett Silvertips Wednesday.

But the Rebels stumbled out of the gate, giving up three unanswered first-period goals, and eventually dropped a 6-3 Western Hockey League decision to the ‘Tips in front of 3,123 fans at Comcast Arena.

“We had a terrible start. We didn’t have a good first period, it was like we were skating in quicksand,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter, who watched the hosts get first-period markers from Carson Stadnyk, Graham Millar and Brayden Lowe.

The Rebels battled back in the middle frame, getting consecutive goals from Conner Bleackley and Tyler Sandhu. Nikita Scherbak restored Everett’s two-goal cushion with a power-play tally at 8:25 and Bleackley brought the Rebels back to within one with his second of the night 10 minutes later.

But that’s as close as the visitors would get, as Scherback beat Rebels netminder Taz Burman at 11:47 of the third period and then completed his hat trick with an empty-net marker at 18:17.

Burman and Silvertips netminder Austin Lotz each finished with 17 saves.

“We struggled in the first period and our goalie fought a few things tonight,” said Sutter. “But we were able to get within a goal a couple of times and when we got to 4-3 it was a game at that point.”

But the Rebels couldn’t close the deal and instead fell to 8-8-1-1 and into sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The ‘Tips, meanwhile, improved to 11-1-2-1 and sit second in the Western Conference.

The Rebels were zero-for-two on the power play, while the Silvertips were one-for-three with a man advantage.

The three stars of Wednesday’s game were (1) Scherback, (2) Bleackley and (3) Stadnyk.

The Rebels are off today, then close out their six-game road trip with Friday and Saturday dates with the Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans.

“We have a day off and then we have to get ready for Portland,” said Sutter.

The Rebels will return home Sunday to prepare for Nov. 14 and 15 home games against the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Saskatoon Blades.

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