Broncos 6 Rebels 4
A slow start and a hot goalie are a tough combination to overcome in the WHL.
The Red Deer Rebels allowed two goals in the opening six minutes Tuesday and despite clawing back into the game, couldn’t quite solve the Issac Poulter puzzle.
The Swift Current Broncos 18-year-old netminder was stellar in the mid-week contest between the Central Division foes, turning aside 54 shots in a 6-4 win over Red Deer at the I-Plex in Swift Current.
Two goals in the opening five minutes and 20 seconds ultimately sunk the Rebels, who were desperate for a win after losses in eight of the last 10 and being outscored 18-3 in its last two games.
“Frustrating, obviously, I thought we did a lot of good things. Both sides of the puck, we had 58 shots because we had the puck and we were attacking,” said Rebels assistant coach Brad Flynn, who was manning the bench for GM/ head coach Brent Sutter. Sutter was away on a recruiting trip.
“Twenty-one shots against, 58 shots for, we did some things well. But we have to start capitalizing more and limiting their chances.”
In the last 10 games, Red Deer has only scored first twice.
Red Deer got caught behind the eight-ball again Tuesday, as former Rebel Justin Svenson struck first, scoring his first WHL goal when he bounced a shot off a Rebels defender and in, just 3:48 into the contest.
It went from bad to worse for Red Deer less than two minutes later. After a Chase Leslie minor for slashing, Brecon Wood scored his fifth goal of the year to snap an 0-for-22 power play drought for the home side.
Still, the Rebels didn’t fold up the tent, scoring 23 seconds apart to tie the game.
First, Jaxsen Wiebe tipped in a point shot by Christoffer Sedoff, then Dawson Barteaux ripped a shot off the post and in to tie the game at two and things looked to be back on track for Red Deer.
“We showed good resiliency. We caught up and even the game up before the end of the first. We’re back in the game,” Flynn said.
“It was pretty even once we got our legs going after the first 10 minutes. We did a good job without chasing. We attacked, we pressured, we did things we need to be successful.”
Cohner Saleski, who was a Rebel for just five games earlier this year, struck late in the second to restore the Broncos advantage. Saleski, who was part of the package Red Deer sent to the Broncos, notched his first career WHL goal with the tally at 4:14 left in the frame.
Jaxan Kaluski scored shorthanded 3:16 into the third and Eric Houk buried his first of the campaign at 6:08 to ice the game.
“They buried their chances and we didn’t bury ours,” surmised Flynn.
Sedoff did add his second point of the night with a goal in the third and Arshdeep Bains added his fifth of the season with nine seconds left in the game, but it was too little, too late.
Rebels netminder Byron Fancy stopped 16 of 21 shots in the loss.
Red Deer dropped to 7-14-0-3 on the year with the loss.
The Rebels will host the Regina Pats Saturday at 7 p.m., at the Centrium, before traveling to Calgary Sunday to take on the Hitmen.