Tigers 4 Rebels 2
Five lacklustre minutes was all it took.
For most of the night Friday at the Peavey Mart Centrium, the Red Deer Rebels looked in control and dominant.
All that didn’t translate on the scoreboard through the first 40 minutes and the Rebels trailed 2-1.
And in hockey, one bounce is sometimes all it takes.
The visiting Medicine Hat Tigers cashed in once on the power play 20 seconds into the final frame and 20-year-old Lukas Svejkovksy buried his hat trick goal at 5:23 later to sink the Rebels.
“It’s casual moments. Not quite being sharp enough in small, small increments of time and we gotta get to the point where there’s no moments like that and it’s every shift from every guy,” said Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk.
“There were some good things. But we need to clean up a couple of things as well.”
Red Deer dominated possession in the first period but couldn’t beat Beckett Langkow who stopped all 11 shots in the frame.
The visitors only had three shots in the opening stanza but got a pair of goals from alternate captain Svejkovsky. His first came on a gorgeous feed from Corson Hopwo just 3:24 into the game. He added his second off the rush, cutting to the middle of the ice and burying low on Chase Coward.
Carter Anderson managed to give the Rebels a bit of a spark, tipping in a point shot high past Beckett Langkow for his first goal of the season at 13:00 of the second.
the third period backbreaker came on the latter half of a Ben King holding minor late in the second.
Bogdans Hodass was the recipient of another nice pass from Hopwo for the power play goal 20 seconds into the third to extend the deficit for the Rebels.
“It’s 2-1 there and if we come back into the third period, you have a lot of energy and hopefully get that second goal. For a bit, it frustrated our guys, you could tell by the way we played,” Konowalchuck said.
“I don’t know if it was emotions or as much as trying to do too much or getting away from the game plan. I thought they did regroup a little bit after that we settled down and we started to get a few more chances. Certainly, that third goal was the backbreaker for us.”
Red Deer failed to register a shot for the first seven minutes of the third period and fell behind 4-1 after Svejkovsky’s third of the evening – a gift in front of the Rebels net, his fifth of the year.
Jace Weir gave Rebels’ fans some hope with 64 seconds left and the goalie out, tapping in a pass from Ben King for his second of the season.
Red Deer also outshot the Tigers 11-3 in the opening frame and did have some strong moments despite the loss according to Konowalchuk.
“There were some good things we did. But there we didn’t have everybody going all the time. I guess that would be the biggest thing,” he said.
“At times we had some things going and played not bad. We still have to learn that the desperation from every guy, throughout the whole 60 minutes has to be there to win hockey games at this level and that will be our goal for tomorrow.”
The Rebels will travel to Lethbridge to take on the Hurricanes Saturday night.
Three stars: (1) Lukas Svejkovsky, Beckett Langkow (2), Carter Anderson (3).