It was one of those dreaded Mondays at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
Simply put the Red Deer Rebels couldn’t get momentum going against the Medicine Hat Tigers.
On a rare afternoon game on Family Day, the Rebels only mustered 17 shots against their Central Division rivals in a 4-1 loss.
The first period didn’t go as the Rebels had hoped when Tigers forward Brendan Lee scored 45 seconds into the game.
The Rebels couldn’t get any offensive flow after serving nearly half of the opening frame on the penalty kill. From there the home team never seemed to recover.
“You give up a goal on the first shift that’s not always a good recipe [for success],” said head coach Steve Konowalchuk. “And then the penalties and we couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole.”
Carson Birnie and Frantisek Formanek both served two-minute minors and defenceman Christoffer Sedoff was dealt a five-minute game misconduct for a check to the head in the first.
These penalties led to Tigers’ Andrew Basha sniping a shot past goaltender Kyle Kelsey on the powerplay with three and a half minutes left in the period.
In the second, Red Deer’s penalty woes continued throughout the period. Ben King and Formanek both were taken to the box for two-minute minors.
Medicine Hat capitalized on the man advantage when Cayden Lindstrom fired one into the back of the net to make it 3-0.
Through the first two periods, the Rebels’ offensive production began to haunt them only managing to get 10 shots on net.
In the third period, Kai Uchacz got the Rebels on the board after he fired a shot toward the net it just slipped under the goaltender’s pads.
That’s as close as Red Deer got after Lee fired in an empty net goal with a minute left in the game.
Since their five-game road trip to the United States Konowalchuk explained his team’s effort and energy has not been the same.
“I thought every game on that trip we had a lot of energy, passion, and a lot of enthusiasm,” he added. “Coming back it’s been inconsistent in practice and it’s been inconsistent these last few games. We’ve got to get that back and we will.”
Red Deer was unsuccessful on two powerplay chances and on the penalty kill Medicine Hat scored twice on six man-advantage opportunities.
Konowalchuk said the Rebels need to play sharper and more mentally focused.
“All those penalties we deserved them. When you’re sharp and when you’re focused you don’t take those penalties as much. Certainly, that’s our inconsistent play right now.”
Red Deer’s next game is against the WHL’s best Winnipeg Ice on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Peavey Mart Centrium.