The Red Deer Rebels got out to an early two-goal lead, but weren’t able to hold off the Moose Jaw Warriors in Western Hockey League action Friday night at the Centrium.
The Rebels fell 5-2 to the Warriors in their final meeting of the season.
The Rebels won the season series against the Warriors 3-1-0-0.
“We never had a lot of emotion or intensity and it showed in our play,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “When you play like that you make mistakes. A lot of selfishness gets involved and you don’t accomplish anything. It’s like knocking your head against a wall.”
Rebels forward Brandon Hagel continued his hot streak, scoring the first goal of the game on a power play midway through the first period.
He now has 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in his last five games.
Five minutes later, Rebels defence Josh Mahura scored another power play goal and his ninth of the season, giving the Rebels a 2-0 lead.
The Rebels’ lead was short lived as Warriors forward’s Jayden Halbgewachs and Brett Howden scored just minutes later to tie it up heading into the break.
“We didn’t play well after the first 15 minutes. They’re a really good hockey team and we let them play their game. When you don’t get engaged in the game, it’s hard to play,” said Sutter.
“We made two bad mistakes and it cost us our two first goals against.”
What seemed to be a quiet second period for both teams, quickly turned into a bad period for the Rebels.
Warriors defenceman Jett Woo scored late in the period followed by Halbgewachs’s second goal of the game, giving them a 4-2 lead heading into the third period.
Rebels goalie Riley Lamb allowed four goals on 30 shots and was replaced by Lasse Petersen to start the third period.
“I was just trying to shake things up to try to get some juice going and get some energy in our group, but we didn’t get a response from it. From a coaching perspective, that was disappointing,” said Sutter.
Warriors forward Nikita Popugaev added a late goal, putting the game out of reach.
Rebels defenceman Colton Bobyk added two assists on the team’s two first period goals, keeping his point streak alive at 10 games (13 assists).
The Rebels were out shot 43-30 and went 2-for-4 on the power play.
Next up for the Rebels is a home game against the Saskatoon Blades, their first meeting of the season. Game time is 7 p.m.
Note: Attendance was 4,671.