Winterhawks 6 Rebels 2
The Portland Winterhawks make you pay for your mistakes.
There’s a reason why they lead the Western Conference and a reason they’ve won nine straight and nine of 10 on the road.
They showed the Red Deer Rebels all those reasons and then some in a 6-2 loss at the Centrium Friday night in WHL action. With the loss, the Rebels have dropped 10 of their last 11 games.
Red Deer hung with the Winterhawks for most of the first 20 minutes, but a few crucial mistakes allowed Portland to capitalize and put the game away. Portland scored twice on nine power plays in the contest.
“First period I thought we had a lot of jump and push but then after that it collapsed on us,” Rebels associate coach Jeff Truitt said.
“Penalties hurt us in the second half of the game, particularly in the third period.
“You can’t take foolish penalties against a team like that, they’re going to get on the power play and dictate play. Then we’re chasing and that’s exactly what happened.”
Winterhawks forward Cody Glass intercepted a Jacob Herauf pass shorthanded before he broke down the ice and slid a backhand past Riley Lamb for his 13th goal of the year midway through the first.
Red Deer responded on the power play with a blast from Kristian Reichel to tie the game late in the opening frame. The goal was his 11th of the season to lead all WHL rookies.
Mason McCarty grabbed the lead for the Rebels midway through the second after he broke wide past the Winterhawks defence and fired a wrist shot just under the cross bar. McCarty leads the Rebels with 13 goals.
Fifteen seconds later Glass burned the Rebels again deflecting a pass through Lamb’s five hole to tie the game at two.
Midway through the second Joachim Blichfeld scored what would be the game-winning goal and his first of two in the period.
Kieffer Bellows showed why he he’s a first round selection of the New York Islanders in the third period. He danced off the half wall past several Rebels’ defenders before firing a shot on net that found the stick of John Ludvig for the Winterhawks fifth goal of the game.
Blichfeld scored on a five-on-three late in the third to secure a hat trick.
Red Deer had 20 shots in the first period and only scored once. They finished the night with 41 shots.
“We came out ready to go. There was a lot of hunger there and pace by our guys. Some good hits. We’ve got to stay with it for 60, just can’t do it for 20 minutes, ” Truitt said.
“Turnovers got to us a little bit, too. Turning the puck over and they were coming at us. We just made some foolish mistakes with the puck. We didn’t have the quality opportunities that we wanted to and we started chasing things.”
The Rebels have still haven’t scored a power play goal since Nov. 4, a stretch of eight games.
The Rebels are right back at it Saturday afternoon when they travel to Calgary to take on the Hitmen. Puck drop is 1:30 p.m., and the game will be aired on Sportsnet.