Oil Kings 3 Rebels 1
Special teams cost the Red Deer Rebels for the second straight game.
Red Deer allowed two power-play goals to the Edmonton Oil Kings and scored just once in six opportunities on the way to a 3-1 loss Saturday night at the Centrium.
Although the work ethic and five-on-five play were better, it a similar story to 24 hours earlier when the Rebels allowed three-man-advantage markers to the Oil Kings in a losing cause.
“I thought we played pretty good really. We just have a hard time scoring. They got two power-play goals again on us and our specialty teams– we haven’t scored on our power play enough and our penalty killing hasn’t been very good,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
“Five-on-five play we’ve actually played pretty good. We hit two or three posts and we had five two-on-ones and a breakaway and we got two shots on net. Those are scoring opportunities that when you don’t make the right play, you don’t make the pass or you’re shooting the puck and missing the net, you’re really not getting a quality scoring chance.”
Red Deer was without their leading scoring Ben King, who is fighting a nagging injury and top defenceman Kyle Masters, who will miss some time with an upper-body injury. That forced Sutter to dress four 16-year-olds.
Edmonton took advantage early, converting their first power-play chance of the night just six seconds into a Jace Isley hooking minor. Jalen Luypen feathered a sweet slap pass to Scott Atkinson at the side of the goal for his third of the season.
A Blake Gustafson cross-check put the Rebels short again and just over a minute into the power play Matthew Robertson rifled home his first of the campaign.
The Rebels pushed back from there, hitting the post twice and they appeared to get within a goal late in the frame. Dallon Melin pushed in a loose puck, but it was ruled he pushed in most of Sebastian Cossa’s pad and the goal was called off.
With less than a minute left in the second, the Rebels turned it over at their own blueline and Jalen Luypen fired a wrister high past Byron Fancy.
Rebels’ rookie Kalan Lind brought the energy all night in his second WHL contest and helped the home side stay in the fight.
The feisty 16-year-old fell an assist short of the Gordie Howe hat trick, with his first career fight at the end of the second period and his first career goal– a point shot that he got a stick on and redirected past Cossa.
“He gave us emotion. He gives us life. He’s a courageous young player. He’s got great skill and just has to get stronger. He scored a big goal and I just thought he was really solid. I thought the other kids were too,” Sutter said.
Rookie Jace Weir also picked up his first career WHL point with an assist on the Lind tally.
Red Deer had several chances to get within a goal late in the game, with the goalie out on the power play– hitting the post twice six-on-four in the last two minutes.
Cossa’s 160-plus minute shutout streak was snapped by the Lind tally, but he still finished with 26 saves in the win. Fancy stopped 25 in the loss.
Three Stars: (1) Jalen Luypen. (2) Kalan Lind. (3) Sebastian Cossa.