Americans score five third-period goals, bury Rebels 6-3

Rebels earned just one win on the five-game American road trip

Two minutes and 26 seconds sunk the Red Deer Rebels.

In their final game of a five-game U.S. road trip, Red Deer limped out of Kennewick, Washington with a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Tri-City Americans.

Red Deer lost four of five games on the American road swing and have just two wins in the last 10 games.

It took two periods for the bus-weary Americans to wake up on Tuesday after they played in Kamloops on Monday and had an eight-hour trip back home.

But they rose with a vengeance in the third, scoring five times in the final frame including three in 2:26 early in the period.

With the Red Deer loss, the race for the final wild-card spot in the eastern conference got a lot tighter. Calgary leads the Rebels by two points and the Brandon Wheat Kings are just two back of Red Deer for the final spot. All three teams have played 56 games.

The Rebels got out of the gate hot against the Americans, scoring just 28 seconds into the contest. Brandon Hagel notched his team-leading 33rd goal of the year and 95th career WHL tally.

Parker AuCoin buried for Tri-City at 5:18, but Chris Douglas scored to regain the lead just past the midway point of the frame.

The visitors continued to dominate in the second but despite firing 14 shots, were unable to beat Americans netminder Beck Warm in the period.

It was looking rosy early in the third when Brett Davis snapped an o-for-20 slump on the power play for the Rebels 72 seconds into the frame with his 18th goal of the season.

The lead evaporated in the blink of an eye, as Riley Sawchuk and Sasha Mutala scored just a minute apart to tie the game at three.

Another 1:26 later, AuCoin added his second of the game and 35th of the year. It was the first lead of the night for the Americans. Kyle Olson and Krystof Hrabik added goals in the third for Tri-City.

Warm finished the night with 36 saves, while Ethan Anders allowed five goals on 25 shots.

Red Deer will visit the Edmonton Oil Kings on Feb. 22, then host Edmonton at the Centrium on Feb. 23.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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