Warriors 4 Rebels 1
MOOSE JAW — The Moose Jaw Warriors, for good reason, feel comfortable in the outdated and under-sized Civic Centre, which includes an ice surface six feet shorter than most facilities in the Western Hockey League.
The Red Deer Rebels, on the other hand, are downright ill at ease in the old barn, or at least that’s how they looked through much of Wednesday’s clash with the Warriors, who scored the first two goals of the game en route to a 4-1 victory before 2,141 fans.
“Our first period wasn’t real good,” said Rebels coach Jesse Wallin. “They came out hard and we seemed to be intimidated a bit. It’s a smaller building and things happen quickly in there. We got back on our heels and didn’t play with any confidence.”
Brendan Rowinski converted a back-door pass from Thomas Frazee for a power-play goal at 10:03, then gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead five minutes later by stealing the puck from Willie Coetzee at the Moose Jaw blueline and beating Rebels goaltender Darcy Kuemper for a short-handed marker.
The Rebels got back into the contest with Josh Cowen’s man-advantage goal just 17 seconds later and went into the intermission with a measure of momentum.
Wallin felt confident that his club would be OK the rest of the way, but Rowinski struck for his third goal of the night on the Warriors’ first shot of the middle frame and the visitors never recovered despite having the only two power plays in the period.
“We had some really good opportunities on our power play. We had some chances in tight, but didn’t capitalize on them,” said Wallin. “If we could have buried one of those we might have got some life again.”
Instead, former Rebel Spencer Edwards put the game out of reach with his fifth goal of the season — in just five games — at 11:18 of the third period.
The Rebels outshot their hosts 30-24, but were only one-for-seven on the power play and surrendered a short-handed goal.
The Warriors were one-for-two with a man advantage and received a strong performance from rookie netminder Brandon Glover, who was named third star of the game, behind Rowinski and Frazee.
Wallin was disappointed with his some of his top-end players, including Coetzee and Landon Ferraro.
“Our top guys have to be better, they have to outplay the opposition’s best players,” said Wallin. “There are some guys in that leadership group who have to step up and play better for us. Some of those guys haven’t been at their best and they have to take the next step.”
The game marked the Rebels debut of Slovakian forward Andrej Kudrna, who on Tuesday was acquired from the Vancouver Giants in return for Cass Mappin. Wallin was impressed with the six-foot-two winger.
“He was fine, he was one of our better forwards,” said the Red Deer coach. “He was strong on the puck down low and made some nice plays around the net.”
The Rebels continue their Eastern Conference trip with a Friday date with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Red Deer also plays on Saturday in Regina and in Swift Current on Sunday.