Oil Kings 7 Rebels 2
Tuesday night the Red Deer Rebels played one of their best games of the Western Hockey League season, on Wednesday it looked like they forgot there was a game.
Visiting Rogers Place to take on the Edmonton Oil Kings, the Rebels were outmatched from the opening puck drop in a 7-2 loss.
GM and head coach Brent Sutter simply wasn’t pleased with the effort of his team.
“It was just a reverse of what it was last night,” Sutter said. “We didn’t play well. Didn’t have a single player play like we needed them to play. When that happens, your team game struggles. Our battle level wasn’t where it needed to be. We can’t make a lot of mistakes, and we made a lot of mistakes.”
The bitterness between the central division rivals spilled over from Tuesday, which featured a tame by comparison three fighting majors.
Evan Polei was in the penalty box off the opening faceoff Wednesday, and just three minutes later, both Brandon Cutler and Quinn Martin were assessed majors for separate fights. The rough stuff continued after almost every whistle throughout the first 40 minutes.
Including 10-minute misconducts, the teams combined for 130 penalty minutes.
The Rebels were heavily outshot in the first 15-6, and didn’t register their first shot on net in the second until the 9:45 mark.
They finished the night down 40-19 on the shot clock.
After the fourth Oil Kings goal at 7:31 in the second, Rebels starting goalie Riley Lamb gave way to rookie Byron Fancy.
That briefly sparked Red Deer, as Cam Hausinger got them on the board and two minutes later Dawson Martin scored on the power play to cut the deficit to 5-2.
With a depleted lineup already, each of Polei, Brandon Hagel and Colton Bobyk served ten-minute misconducts on the night.
Consistency from night to night, remains an issue with this Rebels group according to Sutter.
“What’s disappointing is it happens 24 hours after you just played one of your better games,” Sutter said. “It’s not something you want to see happen. We’ve got work to do with this group, with their mental toughness, with their preparation.”
David Koch was the first star for the Oil Kings with four assists and Will Warm was the second star with a goal and an assist.
Red Deer will be back on the ice Friday at the Centrium against the Kootenay Ice.
The Rebels did have one positive on Wednesday, as they traded for 20-year-old forward Austin Glover from the Prince Albert Raiders. In exchange Red Deer sent 1999-born centre D-Jay Jerome and a third round 2017 WHL Bantam Draft pick to the Raiders.
“20-year-old that’s got some skill and can skate. He’s a smart player, we’re hoping he can come in and is a guy that can play in our top six,” Sutter said of Glover.
The move fills a overage void for the Rebels, as well as a offensive spark they’ve been missing this season. Glover is a veteran of 190 WHL games and has put up 26 points in 35 games this season. Last year he was on a point-a-game pace before an upper-body injury forced him to miss three months. Glover was also a second round, 37th overall pick in the 2011 Bantam Draft.