The Vancouver Giants laid a good old-fashioned beat down on the Red Deer Rebels.
A Christmas hangover seemed to linger over Red Deer in their first game back from the break and the Giants took advantage at every stop.
Vancouver eventually won the contest 6-0, the first shutout loss on the year in 33 games for the Rebels.
The Giants looked every bit like the top team in the B.C. Division in front of 4,626 fans at the Centrium Friday, but it was the Rebels who gave the game away early.
It was really lost when they failed to score on six straight power-play opportunities in the first period and a half, including one two minute five-on-three.
Red Deer’s power play especially struggled without quarterback Alex Alexeyev, who is away representing Russia at the World Junior Hockey Championships. Brett Davis also missed the game with the flu, another key piece missing on the attack.
Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said the players they did deploy on the man-advantage didn’t do enough to make life difficult on the Giants’ defenders.
“Too perimeter, not enough guys wanting to be around the net and battling,” Sutter said.
“We all wanted to be deflectors or shooters or whatever, but we never showed enough assertiveness to be able to capitalize on the power play.”
Shortly after Brandon Hagel had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring on a breakaway midway through the second, it was Vancouver who capitalized.
In his first game as a Gaint, 20-year-old Jared Legien fired a shot on Ethan Anders and the rebound fell behind the netminder.
Jeff de Wit lost coverage and Alex Kannok Leipert was johnny-on-the-spot for his second goal of the season.
It went from bad to worse for the Rebels four minutes later. Off the rush, Brayden Watts found a wide-open Davis Koch to extend the Giants advantage to 2-0 after 40 minutes.
“For half the game we were fine,” Sutter said.
“Our power play didn’t give us what we needed for production, but then we gave up two goals. We make a bad line change. We don’t pick up a guy coming back and backcheck like we’re supposed to and we’re down 2-0. You still have to make a push in the third and we never did.”
Despite being shorthanded much of the first two periods, the Giants were able to control the play five-on-five and capitalize on their chances.
Three goals in just two minutes and 23 seconds apart from Legien, Jared Dmytriw and Justin Sourdif blew the game wide open in the third.
Anders was pulled after the Sourdif tally and allowed five goals on 27 shots. In the other net, David Tendeck stoned the Rebels throughout the night with 28 saves to earn the shutout. Red Deer had just three shots in the final frame.
“We sat back and we didn’t have any push back at all in the third,” Sutter said.
“Their goalie played really well for them for 30 minutes and our goalie didn’t have much action and he wasn’t very good in the last 30 minutes, it’s really that in a nutshell.”
Red Deer is back on the ice Saturday night at home when they host the Central Division leading Edmonton Oil Kings at 7 p.m.