Saskatoon Blades forward Kyle Crnkovic controls the puck during play Sunday in the Rebels final game of a four-game Saskatchewan road trip. (Photo Courtesy of Lucas Punkari/ Prince Albert Daily Herald)

Rebels shutout 1-0 in Saskatoon

Finish four-game Saskatchewan road trip 2-1-0-1

Red Deer Rebels goalie Ethan Anders might have nightmares about that one for a while.

The Rebels were not able to help out their netminder after a second period gaffe and dropped a 1-0 game to the Saskatoon Blades at the SaskTel Centre Sunday.

“Our effort was there, we just didn’t do much offensively the last half of the game. You play pretty hard and do a lot of good things defensively,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.

“We haven’t generated a lot of offence the last three games and probably more than that. In third periods, we haven’t spent enough time in the offensive zone. Haven’t got enough pucks to the net.”

It was back-to-back shutouts for the Saskatoon Blades, who have won nine of their last 10 games. Blades goalie Nolan Maier stopped all 17 shots on the day for his second consecutive shutout.

Anders was stellar in the contest but one moment in the second period, unfortunately, overshadowed it all. He turned aside 32 shots total in the loss and was second star for his efforts.

A clearing attempting that traveled the full length of the ice was stopped by Anders early in the second period. He went to clear it out of the crease and missed the puck. Cyle McNabb came flying in for the Blades and slipped it past the Rebels netminder.

“I didn’t say a word. I don’t think anything needs to be said after giving up a goal like that. It speaks for itself,” Sutter said.

Red Deer only had five shots in the second period and failed to register a shot in the final 20 minutes of the contest.

Defenceman Alex Alexeyev had a team-high five shots for the Rebels.

“We haven’t had a whole lot of urgency in the third. We have to make a push,” Sutter said.

“We worked hard in the third, we just didn’t generate a lot. A lot of cycles but we don’t get pucks to the net. We get a lot of perimeter stuff.”

The Rebels are clinging to the final Eastern Conference wild card spot with six games left in the season. They have 68 points, two more than the Brandon Wheat Kings with a game in hand. Red Deer is also one point back of the Medicine Hat Tigers for the first wild card spot.

Despite finishing the road swing 2-1-0-1, the head coach expected more from his team.

“We’re battling for our playoff lives, we need more than five out of eight points,” Sutter said of the road trip.

After playing 10 of the last 12 games on the road, the Rebels return home to take on the Wheat Kings on March 8.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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