‘Tigers 9 Rebels 2
MEDICINE HAT — A half hour after the final siren and Jessie Wallin still wasn’t exactly sure what happened.
The train wreck that was the Red Deer Rebels road game in Medicine Hat on Friday night left the WHL head coach fuming.
“Brutal,” said Wallin. “We weren’t skating, we seemed to play the entire game half a sleep.”
Tigers forward Matt MacKay scored 1:32 into the game and it was all down hill from there. Tigers built a 3-0 lead 15 minutes into the game and never looked back
The Rebels were out hit, out hustled, out skated and generally out played for 60 minutes as they were out shot 50-30 for the game.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Willie Coetzee scored the lone markers for the Rebels.
Darcy Kuemper started in net for the Rebels, but was pulled after the third goal and Kraymer Barnstable finished out the first period. However, Kuemper went back in to start the second frame and gave up two goals in an 11 second span — Bretton Cameron at 4:05 and Joey Frazer at 4:16 — and his night was done. Kuemper stopped just 15 of the 20 shots fired his way in 19:20 of playing time. Barnstable finished out the night stopping 26 of the 30 shots he faced.
Bretton scored twice for the Tigers as did MacKay and Emerson Etem while Linden Vey had a goal and three assists and Tristan King a goal and two assists.
Tyler Bunz went the distance in the Medicine Hat net, making 28 saves for the win.
“It’s real frustrating to me why it would happen. I thought we were prepared, we had an excellent practice yesterday,” said Wallin. “Why do these things happen? It seems like there is always a game or two throughout the season like this. But there was no stretch through the game where we played the way we can. it was a 60 minute collapse . . . It was just a bad hockey game.”
One bright spot for the Rebels was the play of new blueliner Aaron Borejko who looked solid in his debut.
“I thought he showed some good signs, he’s going to be fine, he’s a good skater and he moves the puck well and has a decent set of hands,” said Wallin. “This was a tough game for him to be thrown into. It is tough to get a real good evaluation in this type of game where no one really plays well, but I think he’s going to fit in fine. He’s going to be a guy that can eat up some minutes, make a good first pass and be a solid defenceman.”
The Rebels, however, do not have the advantage of getting back out on the ice right away. They will have to stew over this one until Tuesday when they host Seattle at 7 p.m.
“We’re going to have to have a couple of good practices here and address some issues that we faced tonight,” said Wallin. “For me it’s mental toughness and mental preparation. This team has shown how good it can be on certain nights and it’s being consistent with that. It’s not changing the coach, it’s not letting off the gas, it’s not getting mentally soft — when you’re mentally soft you’re physically soft and that’s the way we played tonight.
“To be a consistent hockey club you have to have that mental toughness, mental preparation and leadership and being prepared and ready to play each night.”