There was no snow on the ground it was a much more comfortable 20 degrees the last time the Red Deer Rebels won at home.
After a 6-4 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday night, the Rebels are winless at the Centrium since a 4-3 overtime win against Regina on Oct. 28.
Friday Red Deer dropped their 10th straight game and now have just one victory in their last 22 games.
Turnovers and a string of four penalties in the second period zapped the Rebels momentum after a strong first period. Red Deer held a 3-1 advantage through 20 minutes but allowed four straight Hurricanes’ goals including two power play markers and the game just slipped away from the Rebels.
“We were a 20-minute team tonight. I don’t even know how to explain it. We played well in the first and in the second we just couldn’t move our feet and we stopped working. It’s tough to make plays when your standing still at this level,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.
“A lot of turnovers. When you take penalties, we took four minor penalties in the second and we put them in the game and took a lot of our guys out of the game. We only had five or six shots up until we scored (in the third). Tough to score goals when you spend a lot of time chasing.”
Colin Paradis scored his first goal as a Rebel just 26 seconds into the game on a wrist shot from the point that eluded Hurricanes goalie Logan Flodell. Paradis was acquired by the Rebels last Friday in a trade with the Moose Jaw Warriors for defenceman Brandon Schuldhaus and two draft picks.
Brad Morrison scored the first Hurricanes goal 2:31 later.
Rebels captain Grayson Pawlenchuk drove past a pair of Hurricanes defenders and slipped a backhand past Flodel late in the first.
Reese Johnson added the third Rebels goal of the first after a beautiful pass from Brandon Hagel sprung the 19-year-old on a breakaway. Johnson then fired a wrister shot high over Flodel’s blocker. After missing almost a month with a hand injury, Hagel finally made his return for the Rebels Friday.
As momentum began to shift, Jordy Bellerive, the newly minted Hurricanes captain ripped home a shot from the top of the circle over Rebels goalie Riley Lamb midway through the second.
Lethbridge forward Taylor Ross piled on when banged home a rebound late in the third on the Hurricanes fourth straight power play to tie the game at three. The goal came just nine seconds into the man-advantage.
Logan Barlage took control of the game in the third, scoring for just the second and third time of the year. He beat Lamb off the rush with a rocket of a wrist shot early in the frame, then from the faceoff dot with 8 minutes left in the period wired one off the crossbar and in.
Barlage’s second goal was a result of a bad turnover below the Rebels goalline, something along with penalties that hampered them in the final two periods on Friday.
“They’re bad penalties, ones where you’re not moving your feet and your standing and trying to make the play without the puck or finish the check. You end up reaching,” Sutter said.
“That’s the onus on everybody. Our forwards not being strong with pucks and not getting pucks moving forward. Turning it over in the neutral zone then coming back and our defencemen are flat-footed. It’s details in the game that you have to be better at.”
Mason McCarty added a goal late for the Rebels but the Rebels squandered an opportunity to tie the game with a power play and their net empty. Dylan Cozens outraced Alex Alexeyev to a loose puck in front of the Rebels net with 1:09 to play to ice the game.
Lamb finished with 26 saves and Flodell had 23.
Red Deer is back on home ice Saturday night at 7 p.m. against the Saskatoon Blades.