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Rebels fall to Blades in Game 1

Rebels lose 4-1 in Saskatoon
Red Deer Rebels forward Kalan Lind battles for the puck against the Saskatoon Blades. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Blades 4

Rebels 1

The Red Deer Rebels pushed in the third period but the Blades came out on top 4-1 on Friday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Blades forward Fraser Minten scored three points and goaltender Evan Gardner made 16 saves to secure the victory in front of 8,355 fans at SaskTel Centre.

The Rebels were outshot 24-17 and were held scoreless on two powerplay opportunities in the loss. However, the penalty kill was solid holding the Blades to just one powerplay goal on three opportunities.

Rebels interim head coach Dave Struch said they didn’t play the type of top-end playoff game that they needed.

“I think there’s a lot there that we can give going into Sunday. I think we more or less just felt each other out for the most part tonight,” he said.

“We need to get on our toes and play with a lot more intensity if we want to have some success against these guys.”

The Blades scored the first goal of the series with 11:28 remaining in the opening period. Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Fraser Minten tipped home a point shot from Grayden Siepmann past Rebels netminder Chase Wutzke.

Later in the period, Rebels defenceman Mats Lindgren had a golden opportunity in front of the net but was robbed by Gardner.

Shortly after, the Blades fired the puck into the Rebels zone which somehow beat Wutzke. However, it was immediately waved off after the officials determined the Blades were offside.

Red Deer finally got on the board in the second period. Just 5:28 into the middle frame, forward Carson Birnie knocked in the rebound after Carson Latimer tried to do the same.

The Rebels nearly took the lead shortly after when forward Frantsek Formanek rang a shot off the post but the game remained tied.

Approximately a minute and a half later, Blades Vaughn Watterodt put the Blades back on top. He tapped in the puck after it sat in the crease following the initial shot.

Red Deer took a costly roughing penalty midway through the second which led to Minten’s third point of the evening. He hammered in his third goal of the playoffs off a one-timer from the right circle assisted by Charlie Wright.

The Rebels got a great opportunity to close the gap early on in the third period. Blades defenceman Tanner Molendyk was sent to the box for four minutes for a high-sticking penalty but the Blades killed it off.

Red Deer fired a few more off the post before the Blades scored an empty netter off the stick of Brandon Lisowsky to seal the deal.

“I think if we get the first shot we have to work for those second and third opportunities. But to do that we have to get into the paint and I don’t think we did a good enough job of that,” Struch added.

Next up, Game 2 is set for Sunday at 4 p.m. in Saskatoon before the series shifts to Red Deer for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“I don’t think we have to change much. It’s just a matter of playing our game better. We talk about doing the right things. We have to do more right things right than we did tonight.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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