Turnover in third period costs Rebels

The Red Deer Rebels were playing a perfect road game Friday night when tragedy struck in the third period.

Broncos 4 Rebels 2

SWIFT CURRENT — The Red Deer Rebels were playing a perfect road game Friday night when tragedy struck in the third period.

“I thought we played a real solid game. It comes down to the third period and you’re tied on the road and doing a really good job of keeping the shots against down,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.

And then . . .

“On their winning goal we just made a real soft play in our own zone that resulted in a turnover,” Sutter continued. “We didn’t block a shot and the puck ended up in the back of our net.”

The Rebels boss was referring to the scenario surrounding Jordan Thomson’s marker at 7:17 of the final frame. The defenceman’s sixth of the season stood up as the winner and Glenn Gawdin notched a late empty-net goal for good measure in a 4-2 Western Hockey League victory for the Swift Current Broncos in front of 2,128 fans at the Credit Union i-plex.

Sutter wasn’t overly bothered by the setback considering Rebels netminder Taz Burman faced only 20 shots while his teammates directed 37 — including 29 in the first 40 minutes — at Broncos goalie Landon Bow.

“We had our chances, especially through the first two periods, and their goaltender played well,” said Sutter. “In the third period we didn’t generate as much as we would have liked to.”

Wyatt Johnson, with his 23rd goal of the season, staked the Rebels to a lead a mere 36 seconds into the contest and just 26 seconds following a delay-of-game penalty call on Swift Current blueliner Ayrton Nikkel. Colby Cave evened the count with a power-play tally at 6:33 and Meyer Nell restored the visitors’ one-goal cushion 18 seconds later.

Coda Gordon got the Broncos back on even terms with his 18th of the season near the midway point of the second period, setting the stage for Thomson’s third-period winner and Gawdin’s empty-net goal with 77 seconds remaining in the contest.

The Rebels, who were winners at Prince Albert and Saskatoon Tuesday and Wednesday, conclude their four-game road trip tonight against the Regina Pats.

“It’s not like we’re leaving here feeling like we played a bad game,” said Sutter. “We actually played pretty well tonight, but we have to find a way to score some goals.”

l The Broncos were one-for-four on the power play, while the Rebels were one-for-three with a man advantage . . . Nell’s goal was his eighth of the season . . . The three stars were (1) Gordon, (2) Johnson and (3) Cave . . . The Rebels will depart for Red Deer following tonight’s game and will begin preparations for a Wednesday date with the Oil Kings in Edmonton. The Rebels host the Prince Albert Raiders and Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday and Saturday.