Despite a big push in the final minutes, the Red Deer Rebels dropped a nail-biter to the Swift Current Broncos 3-1.
Red Deer knocked off the Broncos the night before but Swift Current answered the bell on Saturday, which was much needed for the Broncos who are still battling for a playoff spot.
Penalties were once again a problem for the Rebels who couldn’t get much offensive momentum after they spent 23 minutes in the sin bin.
“You start the second period with penalties and then our guys are sitting so long they don’t get their feet moving,” said Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk.
“In the third period, we got our feet moving we got forechecking but at the start of the game, we weren’t as good as we needed to be.
“We wanted to hope for a little bit of an easier game which you knew you weren’t going to get and that to me was the difference in the game.”
Konowalchuk explained early on that the effort from the Rebels needed to be stronger but liked how they performed in the third period.
“We gave ourselves a chance in the third but when you’re killing that many penalties it’s hard to get any momentum,” he said.
Swift Current got on the board first early in the opening period on the powerplay when Josh Filmon notched his 45th of the year.
Red Deer got the equalizer at the midway point of the second on the powerplay when he launched a rocket in the slot to beat the goaltender.
In the final minute of the first, the Broncos reclaimed the lead once again on the powerplay off the stick of Drew Englot.
That would be the last goal until the dying minutes of the third period. The Rebels pulled goaltender Chase Coward for the extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game but Swift fired in the empty netter to seal the deal.
The Broncos are a desperate team and they played like it on Saturday. With just two games left, Swift Current is two points back from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“They were definitely more dialled in the first part of the game than we were. That’s their desperation where they’re probably in a win-it-out type of situation or close to it,” Konowalchuk said.
“That’s a good win for them today… It’s frustrating, last night we came out and we were able to match it, if not be a little bit better. Tonight we weren’t. Tonight we let down especially to start that game and we’ve got to learn from it.”
Swift Current goaltender Reid Dyck, who was the first star of the game, stole the show making 31 saves including a few close calls in the third.
Rebels Chase Coward also had a big night between the pipes making 34 saves on 36 shots at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
“He kept the game within one goal pretty much the entire game and that’s hard to do… He was solid, very solid.”
The Rebels have two games remaining in the regular season before playoffs begin. On Friday they’ll head to Lethbridge to take on the Hurricanes at 7 p.m. before returning home on Saturday for a rematch also at 7 p.m.