Giant letdown

Maybe it was just one of those games in which anything that can go wrong, goes wrong.

Red Deer Rebel Willie Coetzee is overtaken by Vancouver Giant Nolan Toigo during the Giants’ 6-2 win  at the Centrium on Wednesday.

Red Deer Rebel Willie Coetzee is overtaken by Vancouver Giant Nolan Toigo during the Giants’ 6-2 win at the Centrium on Wednesday.

Giants 6 Rebels 2

Maybe it was just one of those games in which anything that can go wrong, goes wrong.

Whatever, the Red Deer Rebels looked nothing like the stingy club that had won five of its previous six games.

The Rebels’ special teams were anything but, their goaltending and overall defensive play was somewhat spotty, and the end result was a 6-2 Western Hockey League loss to the Vancouver Giants Wednesday before an official gathering of 4,061 at the Centrium.

Red Deer started strong, as former Giant Andrej Kudrna connected eight minutes into the contest, wiring a shot past netminder Mark Segal from directly off a faceoff in the visitors zone. But the lead was erased when Brendan Gallagher poked a rebound past Rebels starter Kraymer Barnstable at 16:46 with the Giants on the power play, and just 65 seconds later James Henry scored on a deflection of a point shot.

“We’ve been stressing getting out to a good start and I thought we did that tonight,” said Rebels defenceman Cullen Morin.

“I thought that was our best start since the Christmas holidays. We got one early and things were looking good and then we made a couple of mistakes and they ended up with the lead. We were still in good shape, but we just made a few too many mistakes tonight against a good hockey team.”

The Giants extended their lead to 3-1 late in the second period on Gallagher’s second of the night and 26th of the season, off another point-shot deflection. Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin replaced Barnstable with Darcy Kuemper at that point, and just 56 seconds later Morin took a cross-ice pass from Brett Ferguson and beat Segal to the top corner.

Whatever momentum Red Deer gained on Morin’s goal was erased in the final minute of the period when the visitors got a power-play marker from Craig Cunningham with Kuemper screened by teammate Alex Petrovic.

“We did start the game in the right frame of mind. We came out working hard and established the way we wanted to play early,” said Wallin. “We got the first goal, but then we made a few mental mistakes. Both of (Vancouver’s) first two goals were off mental mistakes and after that I just didn’t think we battled through adversity the way we needed to.”

Barnstable was back in the Red Deer net to start the third period and gave up unanswered goals to Garry Nunn at 3:42 and former Rebel Connor Redmond — his first of the season — five minutes later.

Wallin suggested that at times his team was almost in awe of the Giants.

“They’re a good hockey team and they’ve been a good team for a few years and I think we gave them too much respect,” said the Rebels bench boss. “We gave them too much space in our own zone. We were standing around watching too much instead of playing and we gave up too many soft goals tonight, almost as many as we gave up the last five games.

“You have to keep pucks out of your net, you can’t give up six goals. We let them score too easy.”

The Rebels were zero-for-eight on the power play and gave up two goals on three Vancouver man-advantage opportunities.

“They’ve got a good penalty kill, second-best in the league,” said Wallin. “They pressure and just battle real hard and when they have opportunities to out-number you on the puck they do that.

“They do a good job of being in shooting lanes and were cheating on our guys at the point. They just make it tough to get pucks to the net.”

That being said, the Rebels created several chances on the power play, but were robbed by Segal time and again. The Giants stopper made a dazzling glove save on Ferraro and stopped Willie Coetzee on a three-on-one, both in the first period, and in the middle frame took a goal away from John Persson and absolutely stoned Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back to back.

Segal finished with 33 saves, while Barnstable stopped 19 of 24 shots and Kuemper was beaten on the lone volley he faced.

“Red Deer really pushed hard early, but our specialty teams were good and our penalty kill was good because of our goalie,” said Giants head coach Don Hay, whose club opened a four-game trip on a positive note.

“This is a game we felt was really important for us to play well in. I don’t think we played that well, but we played one of those greasy type of road games and took advantage of our opportunities.”

The Rebels return to action Friday against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

“It’s a quick turnaround. We have to have a good practice tomorrow and get ready for Swift Current,” said Morin. “That’s a team we’re battling with for the playoffs right now so it’s like a four-point game.”

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A cleaner goes into Red Deer’s Canada Post sorting facility near 67th Street and Taylor Drive on Thursday morning. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Employee tests positive for COVID-19 at Red Deer Canada Post mail sorting facility

Canada Post has confirmed an employee at the Red Deer mail processing… Continue reading

Two people (not in photo) are facing charges following a Sept. 20, 2020 anti-racism rally in Red Deer.
Advocate file photo
Woman charged in Red Deer anti-racism rally going to trial

Calgary woman facing a charge of assault with a weapon in connection with Sept. 20, 2020 rally

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley was in Red Deer Wednesday and addressed a number of different political topics affecting central Alberta. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Notley talks RDC, UCP draft K-6 curriculum in visit to Red Deer

Rachel Notley had only proposed a solution hours before she arrived in… Continue reading

The Bowden Institution medium security facility near Bowden. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
UPDATED: COVID-19 cases reported at Bowden Institution

Bowden Institution is dealing with seven active COVID-19 cases. The two positive… Continue reading

Photo by RANDY FIEDLER/Advocate staff BUDGET RURAL MEDICINE 2 - Dr. Fred Janke in his Sylvan Lake practice Wednesday. for story
Sylvan Lake doctor formerly accused of child sex crimes can practise again

Crown prosecutors dropped all charges against Dr. Fred Janke last November

Westerner Park’s Exhibition Hall was used as a vaccination clinic on Wednesday. A steady stream of people came to get their COVID-19 shots either by appointment or as walk-ins. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
No long lineups at walk-in vaccination site in Red Deer

A steady stream of people walked into Westerner Park on Wednesday to… Continue reading

Letisha Reimer is shown in a photo, part of a memorial to her outside Abbotsford Senior Secondary School in Abbotsford, B.C., Monday, Nov.7, 2016. A B.C. Supreme Court judge is expected to deliver her decision today over whether a man who stabbed two high school students is not criminally responsible because he had a mental disorder. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geordon Omand
Judge to rule on criminal responsibility of man who stabbed two B.C. students

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — A British Columbia Supreme Court judge is expected… Continue reading

File photo
Expert says Saskatchewan should consider more targeted vaccine plan as variants surge

SASKATOON — Nazeem Muhajarine says he feels a sense of relief after… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising Canada will slash its… Continue reading

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
More supply needed to ease housing price crunch, but always more to do, Freeland says

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country needs a boost… Continue reading

Smoke pours from the stacks at the Portlands Energy Centre in Toronto on Thursday January 15, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Risk experts say climate change to take big chunk of Canadian economy by 2050

One of the world’s largest insurers says Canadians will be more than… Continue reading

A Blanding’s turtle (Gabrielle Fortin/Contributed)
Earth Day: Finding hope in an old sweater

During the pandemic, many of us have spent several months at home.… Continue reading

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says 1.7 million reusable masks have been ordered at a cost of $4.2 million.” (Advocate file photo).
Alberta teachers and education minister swap accusations of politicizing curriculum

EDMONTON — Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says the group representing Alberta teachers… Continue reading

FILE - In this March 19, 2021, file photo, people take pictures of the Olympic rings installed by the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)
Olympic bodies launch competitive series in virtual sports

Olympic body hopes to reach more young people

Most Read