Brandon Wheat Kings' Reid Duke makes a shot on Red Deer Rebels' goalie Rylan Toth as teammate Kayle Doetzel looks on during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final

Brandon Wheat Kings' Reid Duke makes a shot on Red Deer Rebels' goalie Rylan Toth as teammate Kayle Doetzel looks on during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final

Rebels bounced from playoffs by Wheat Kings

In a must-win game, the Red Deer Rebels didn’t have the push needed to extend the series.

In a must-win game, the Red Deer Rebels didn’t have the push needed to extend the series.

Going 0-for-4 on the power play and giving up a short handed goal can haunt a team.

Giving up a hat trick and four unanswered goals in the second and third periods ended the Rebels playoff run as they fell 5-2 to the Brandon Wheat Kings.

“I think our team was very fragile in this series,” said Brent Sutter, Rebels GM/head coach. “I don’t think we responded to some adversity in the series very well. I thought some of our top players played well and other top players struggled.”

The Rebels held leads, 1-0 to start the game and 2-1 going into the first period intermission, but couldn’t bottle up the Wheat Kings attack.

“Again we had a 2-1 lead and we didn’t stay with our game,” said Sutter. “We made some risky plays and gave up 2-on-1s and they capitalized on it, we gave up a shorthanded goal and they capitalized on it. We just weren’t sharp.

“We never had 60 to 70 per cent of our team play to the level they need to play at in this series, like they did against Regina and it hurt us. Some of our guys really struggled in the series.”

The loss ends the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Final in just five games. The Wheat Kings, conference champions for the second consecutive year, will now face the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL final. Seattle swept the Kelowna Rockets to earn their spot in the final.

The Rebels will have about 20 days off before the Memorial Cup takes over the Centrium. Sutter said the team will develop a program to keep the players game-ready for the extended break.

“Next week is going to have to be a tough week because the other teams are going to be playing, battling and competing hard and we can’t just be running practices,” said Sutter.

Nolan Patrick had a hand in all five Wheat Kings goals, with three goals and two assists. His first goal came off of a turnover by the Rebels as they tried to clear their zone. His second came on a pass by Hawryluk, who used every inch of his stick and arm to pass the puck to him. His third goal came on a 2-on-1 rush and ended up as the game winner.

Not to be outdone by his teammate Patrick, Wheat Kings’ goalie Jordan Papirny made 29 saves including several key saves. The biggest save was on a Luke Philp breakaway. With the Wheat Kings leading 3-2, Philp had the puck alone at the Wheaties blueline but was stopped cold by Papirny.

“It’s tough to win when you’re playing a good team and you go along further and further in the playoffs, the teams get better and your game has to rise,” said Sutter. “We had some guys really struggle with that.”

Rebels’ goal scoring came from Jake DeBrusk and Evan Polei. Both goals came in the first period.

The Rebels’ next game is scheduled for May 20 against the Ontario Hockey League champion at the Centrium. The London Knights and Niagara Ice Dogs start the OHL Final series on May 5. That game will kick off the Memoral Cup.

Brandon starts their series against Seattle on May 6 at home.

Notes: The Wheat Kings were 0-for-7 on the power play in the last two games of the series … The Wheat Kings out shot the Rebels 31-26 … Attendance at Westman Place was 5,605.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Photo from Highway 11 Functional Planning Study)
Public input wanted for Highway 11 improvement plan

Round 2 of public online engagement continues until March 10

Workers were busy getting a tall crane in place Thursday morning for the construction of the new courthouse in downtown Red Deer. The facility will include modern technology and replace the existing courthouse upon completion expected in spring 2023. Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff
Red Deer building permits down slightly in February

The Real Canadian Superstore in Red Deer will be getting a facelift.… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake RCMP are investigating a break-in at a seasonal residence where three oil paintings were stolen. (Photo contributed)
Art theft in Lacombe County

Sylvan Lake RCMP investigating

About 110 students from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools participated in March for Life rally in Edmonton May 9. (File photo by Advocate staff)
St. Joseph High School in Red Deer moves back to online learning

Students will be learning online until at least March 12

Travellers arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto early Monday, February 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
New rules appear to push international air travel down even further than pre-pandemic

OTTAWA — Canada’s new COVID-19 testing and quarantine rules for international air… Continue reading

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Ryan Jake Applegarth of Ponoka, 28, is scheduled to appear at Ponoka Provincial Court on March 12, 2021. (File photo)
Discussions about justice continue as Ponoka murder victim’s case proceeds

Reaction to comments Ponoka Staff Sgt. Chris Smiley made to town council last month

Dr. Stanley Read
Hometown Bashaw doctor recognized with alumni award for AIDS work

Dr. Stanley Read, born and raised in Bashaw, is considered a global health leader

A nurse assistant prepares a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 during a priority vaccination program for health workers at a community medical center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Andre Penner
COVID-19 cases start to climb again as variants spread, in step with dire forecasts

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief public health officer says new COVID-19 cases are… Continue reading

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Statistics Canada to release final economic figures for 2020, January GDP estimate

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada is expected to say today precisely how bad… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2020, file photo, former NBA player Shaquille O’ Neal is interviewed on the red carpet for Shaq’s Fun House in Miami. O’Neal is set to perform in his first competitive match when he teams in All Elite Wrestling with Jade Cargill in a mixed tag to take on Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet at Daily’s Place on an episode of “Dynamite,” Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Shaq Attack: O’Neal ready to rumble in tag match for AEW

O’Neal’s first competitive match with All Elite Wrestling

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, center, speaks during a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting in Tokyo, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, Pool)
Tokyo Olympics add 12 women to executive board to reach 42 per cent

Board will now have 19 women among its 45 members

The Stratford Festival’s Festival Theatre is shown in Stratford, Ont., on May 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins
Stratford Festival plans next stages with two outdoor summer venues

Ontario festival productions set for between late June and the end of September

Most Read