It’s difficult to win a hockey game when you don’t score.
The Red Deer Rebels have learned that the hard way, now goalless in their last two contests. The last goal for Red Deer was all the way back on Dec. 2 in the second period against the Calgary Hitmen.
After a 4-0 defeat Wednesday in Lethbridge, the Rebels dropped their 10th straight game against the Moose Jaw Warriors Friday at the Centrium.
As the top team in the WHL, the Warriors came into town on a roll, with wins in seven of the last nine and snuck out a 3-0 victory over the Red Deer.
Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said despite the loss, his team brought a much better effort to the table Friday and will eventually be rewarded for it.
“I thought five-on-five we played well. That’s a top team in the league and I thought we did a really good job five-on-five,” Sutter said.
“They got a power play goal, that was a tough goal against us. They got that one when we just lost coverage and the empty netter. You can’t fault our effort here. You can’t fault the kids, how hard they played. I was pleased with the work ethic and our team play was pretty good.”
Red Deer now has just one win in their last 17 games and fell to 9-18-3-1 on the year.
The Rebels hung with the WHL’s top team for the first period, but a mishandled rebound from Riley Lamb midway through the second proved costly. Brett Howden was sitting on the doorstep and tapped home his 12th goal of the season on the power play.
Howden was one of 32 players invited to the Team Canada’s World Junior Hockey Championship Selection Camp, which starts next week in Ontario.
Tanner Jeannot blasted a rocket past Lamb with only 10 seconds left in the second period to extend the Moose Jaw lead.
The Rebels had several good scoring chances in the middle frame, but have been simply snake-bitten for the last several games.
“We had chances. We had some opportunities and didn’t capitalize. Second period especially. We hit the crossbar when the score was 1-0. That could have turned the whole game around. Just the way things are going,” Sutter said.
“We just have to stay with it and keep going. When you get this kind of effort and you play like this, wins will start coming our way and good things will start happening. Can’t get down about it.”
Jayden Halbgewachs added his 30th goal of the season into the empty net with 1:36 left in the game. He now has points in 17 straight games.
Brody Willms had 27 saves for the shutout in the Moose Jaw net, while Riley Lamb stopped 23 for Red Deer.
The Rebels are back on the ice Saturday night when they host the Swift Current Broncos. Puck drop is 7 p.m. at the Centrium.