Photo by ASHLI BARRETT/Advocate Staff

Photo by ASHLI BARRETT/Advocate Staff

Rebel missed chances even series with Calgary

In a game of missed opportunities, none stood out more than what came in the latter stages of the first period.

Hitmen 5 Rebels 2

In a game of missed opportunities, none stood out more than what came in the latter stages of the first period.

With the score all tied up at 1-1, Colby Harmsworth hit Ivan Nikolishin from behind. Nikolishin fell awkwardly on his left leg. Harmsworth was given a five minute major and a game misconduct.

But the Rebels couldn’t capitalize.

Then, a scrum broke loose in front of the Calgary Hitmen’s net. With two Hitmen heading to the box to the lone Red Deer Rebel — Luke Philp — it set up a 5-on-3 power play for the Rebels for the full two minutes.

But the Rebels couldn’t capitalize.

“Tonight their power play was better than ours and our power play wasn’t better than their penalty killers,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “The score is 1-1 and we get a five minute power play and didn’t do much on it. Then we had a full two-minute 5-on-3 and we didn’t capitalize on that too.”

By the end of the night, those missed chances were too much for the Rebels as they fell 5-2 to the Hitmen. The loss ties the first round Western Hockey League playoff series at 1-1.

Nikolishin left the game after that hit that set off the Rebels missed chance. He did not return and Sutter said it was “not good.”

Sutter said they missed a power play opportunity to start the third period when on a delayed penalty. Evan Polei through a hit on Travis Sanheim that changed the situation to coincidental minors, negating a potential power play.

“Your toughness has to be between your ears in situations like that,” said Sutter. “Just skate away from stuff. We go caught up in that and it cost us in the third period. Those things can’t happen.”

Travis Sanheim led the Hitmen with one goal and two assists, while goalie Cody Porter made several game-saving stops among the 35 pucks he turned aside.

Beck Malenstyn got the Hitmen on the board early in the first on a delayed penalty call against the Rebels. Streaking down the left side, he slid the puck into the crease where it banked off of Colton Bobyk’s skate and past goalie Trevor Martin.

The lone Rebels power play that connected for a goal came courtesy a tip-in from Adam Helewka off of a pass from Jake DeBrusk evened the score at 1-1.

In the second period, a ricochet off the end boards bounced around Martin with Jakob Stukel pushing the puck over the line, putting the Hitmen up 2-1. Travis Sanheim made it 3-1 with a wrist shot from the slot.

Rebels pulled to within a goal when Evan Polei buried a cross ice pass from Adam Musil into the empty cage.

An elbowing penalty to Jeff de Witt and a power play goal from Jordy Stallard restored the two goal Hitmen lead.

An empty netter from Pavel Karnaukhov put the game out of reach, 5-2 Hitmen.

The series resumes Sunday in Calgary as the two teams play their third game in as many nights.

mcrawford@redeeradvocate.com

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