Rebels listless in shutout loss to Calgary Hitmen

Hitmen 5 Rebels 0

Less than 24 hours after an emotional and thrilling win on home ice, the Red Deer Rebels simply had nothing left in the tank Saturday afternoon.

Playing the Calgary Hitmen in front of a big crowd at the Saddledome and in front of a national TV audience, the Hitmen dominated from the outset and manhandled the Rebels in a 5-0 victory.

Calgary outshot Red Deer 28-14 in the win, with the Rebels only register four shots in each of the final two periods.

“We had a decent first period. I just thought the second and third, we lost a lot of battles and not any sustained pressure in the offensive zone at all,” Rebels GM/ head coach Brent Sutter said.

“We had four power plays and went 0-for-four and they went one-for-one. We weren’t getting a lot of scoring chances 5-on-5, so you need your power play to step up.”

Jack McNaughton stopped all 14 shots to earn the shutout.

Connor Gabruch had the only Hitmen goal in the first and Carson Focht made it 2-0 in the second.

Sutter said other than rookie Keaton Sorensen, there wasn’t much generated from his top two lines and against a strong team like the Hitmen, that’s simply not good enough.

“Our best forward was Keaton Sorensen. He had some good scoring chances for us,” Sutter said.

“Keaton is a good player and is going to be a real good player, the other lines need to produce. When you have three 19-20-year-olds on the ice, those guys have to give you something offensively, at least create some scoring chances for you.”

Focht added another in the third before Jackson van de Leest notched a pair 1:34 apart to clinch the victory.

“It was close in the first half of the game, but I don’t think we had a real hard push after that. Never got any sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Third period, we had some breakdowns and they capitalized,” Sutter added.

Rebels goalie Ethan Anders allowed five goals on 28 shots.

The Rebels are back on the ice Wednesday at the Centrium when they take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes at 7 p.m.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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