The potent Regina Pats power play that tormented the Red Deer Rebels Rebels for two games in Regina was stifled by a determined Rebels penalty kill.
After going 6-for-14 on the man advantage in two games in Regina, the Rebels held the Pats power play scoreless on their five chances in game 5.
“Penalty killing was huge, we killed off enough minutes tonight, more than we would probably have liked to,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
“They’ve scored a lot of power play goals this series. But 5-on-5 we’ve played pretty well. That third period in Regina was maybe the best period we’ve had to date in the series. We carried that on tonight.”
Some of those penalties included a double-minor to Evan Polei for a high stick in the first period and a five minute major and a game misconduct to Adam Musil for goalie interference.
The interference call drew the ire of the Rebels players and coaching staff, who argued Musil was pushed into Pats’ goalie Tyler Brown. Musil had a partial breakaway, but was unable to get the shot off and was hard pressed to move out of Brown’s way as the Pats defender checked him.
Shutting the power play down was key to their 5-1 win over the Pats in their Western Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal. The Rebels are one win away from the Eastern Conference final with a 3-2 series lead.
Up until the last five minutes of the game, Rebels goalie Rylan Toth was pitching a shutout. A Sean Richards backhander ended his shutout bid, but Toth still made 28 saves for the win.
“(Trevor) Martin did a heck of a job for us, but his last few games probably weren’t his best games,” said Sutter. “Tother is in now, he got an opportunity to play just over a period in Regina and he was rock solid.
“Toth was solid and big. We need goaltending.”
Toth credited the help in front of him and numerous blocked shots.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Toth. “That four minute kill in the first period and the five minute kill in the second was amazing. I think (the Pats) only got a shot or two off in each one. The guys did such a good job of blocking shots, I’m really proud of them.”
A bizarre sequence saw a Pats goal called back after the referees missed a high sticking penalty with 6:15 to play in the third period. Adam Helewka took a high stick and was bleeding, but there was no call on the ice. Play continued and the Pats scored a goal. However, the officials conversed and called the goal off, deciding to send Jared Freadrich to the penalty box on a double minor for high sticking instead.
Brandon Hagel led the Rebels with a goal and an assist, scoring the game winner halfway through the second period. After causing a turnover at the Pats’ blueline he came into the zone 2-on-1 with Evan Polei on the left wing. Hagel never considered the pass and fired a wrist shot that beat Brown. Luke Philp also contributed with two assists.
The series now returns to Regina for game 6 at the Brandt Centre. Puck drop is at 4 p.m. and can be listened to on the Drive.
Notes: Rylan Toth got the start in net, one game after returning to the lineup. Out with a lower body injury from Feb. 17 until April 13, Toth was pressed into action halfway through game 4 when Trevor Martin was pulled after allowing four goals on 22 shots … Colton Bobyk finished serving his two game suspension. He is eligible to return to the lineup on Sunday … 6,185 people packed into the Centrium for game 5.