Wheat Kings 5 Rebels 2
BRANDON — Slow starts continue to haunt the Red Deer Rebels.
The Rebels found themselves behind the Brandon Wheat Kings 2-0 after only two shots on goal and played catch up the rest of the way in dropping a 5-2 Western Hockey League contest before 5,024 fans Friday afternoon.
Tyler Coulter opened the scoring against Red Deer starting netminder Riley Lamb on Brandon’s first shot at 4:45 of the first period.
On their second shot Kale Clague made it 2-0 at 6:44 and that was the end of the night for Lamb, who was replaced by Lasse Petersen.
Dawson Martin gave the Rebels some life, scoring a power play marker at 8:39, but the Wheat Kings came right back when Ty Lewis beat Petersen, also on the power play, at 10:40. It was also the first shot Petersen faced.
“They get three goals and on three shots and three stoppable shots,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “We only give up three shots in 11 minutes, and yet we’re down 3-1 then you’re fighting it the rest of the way.
“It’s been hurting us of late. Three of the last six games we’re got ourselves in trouble early.”
Still Sutter felt the team showed flashes.
“There were a lot of good things, but we’re giving up untimely goals, especially early,” he added.
The Rebels have been struggling since they had a six-game win streak snapped. In fact they have lost five of their last six games.
“We were playing so well but since some individuals have saw their game fall off a bit and the starting goaltenders are two of them. They’re just fighting it right now.”
Michael Spacek once again gave the Rebels life as he made it 3-2 on the power play at 7:27 of the second period with his 11th goal of the season.
The Rebels had their chances in the first two periods, outshooting the Wheaties 15-7 in the first period and 11-7 in the second.
“We played well the first two periods,” said Sutter. “We made some mistakes with some odd-man rushes, which we can’t do, but overall I was happy with our defence.”
However, the third period belonged to Brandon, who held a 12-8 edge in shots and got goals from Lewis 58 seconds into the frame and Stelio Matteos with a power play goal at 13:10.
The Rebels finished with 34 shots on Jordan Papirny.
“We need a little more from some of our forwards,” Sutter said.
“Two of our three centers have two goals between them, although today I thought Jeff de Wit played his best game all year, so maybe things are turning his way.”
Petersen finished with 21 saves for the Rebels, who don’t have time to worry about the loss. They travel to Moose Jaw today and Regina Sunday. They visit Swift Current Tuesday before heading home for a Friday meeting with Medicine Hat.
The Rebels were two-for-five with the extra man but allowed two goals on four shorthanded situations.