Pats 6 Rebels 2
Just a week ago, the Red Deer Rebels were on top of the world.
On Nov. 5 they won their 15th game in a row and seemed to display minimal weaknesses if any at all. They were ranked the top team in the Canadian Hockey League.
Seven days later the Rebels have lost four games in a row and on Saturday night were dominated in a 6-2 loss to the Regina Pats.
In what has been a strength for central Alberta’s team, special teams have been a struggle as of late and that continued against the Pats. Regina went a perfect three for three on the powerplay and Red Deer could only muster a single powerplay goal on five attempts.
Head coach Steve Konowalchuk said his team has played with a lack of discipline and are taking too many penalties.
“We’re just not where we need to be as far as playing to our identity,” he said.
When asked why his team suddenly started playing this way he said they addressed it earlier in the season but for some reason, the issue has resurfaced.
“Now we’ve seen that in three of the last four games of the undisciplined kind,” he said. “I don’t know, maybe we’ve got to ego check… We’ve certainly got to get back to basics really quick.”
The Pats struck first in the opening period when forward Borya Valis scored on the backhand over a sprawling Kyle Kelsey.
Just six minutes later defenceman Hunter Mayo tied the game after he ripped a wrist shot from the top of the circle on the powerplay off the feed from forward Kai Uchacz. That was Mayo’s eighth tally of the season.
Pats’ Tanner Howe reclaimed their lead a few minutes after that off a rebound opportunity in front of the net. This led the Pats into the middle frame with a 2-1 lead.
In the second period, the game began to unravel for Red Deer when Regina scored four straight goals to take a commanding lead. The first came just four minutes in when forward Sam Oremba found the loose puck in the crease and knocked it in.
Approximately four minutes after that forward Easton Armstrong fired a wrist shot into the left side of the net just over the goaltender’s shoulder to put Regina up 4-1.
With over five minutes left in the period, Howe scored his second of the game on the powerplay when he tipped a Stanislav Svozil shot in front of the net.
In the final three minutes of the frame, Pats star Connor Bedard scored a highlight reel goal picking the top right corner after Howe dished it between his legs.
In the third period, the Red Deer held off the Pats from extending their lead and defenceman Mats Lindgren scored his first goal as a Rebel but that is as close as they would get.
Goaltender Kelsey struggled throughout the game making 14 saves on 20 shots.
Konowalchuk said for them to turn things around, the veteran players will need to lead the way and as a coaching staff they’ll get a message across to the players.
“At the end of the day, it’s the leaders’ locker room but, the coaching staff, we’ve got measures that the players know about that we’ve got to punish them and so that’s part of it,” he said.
“I still know we’ve got a great group of guys that for whatever reason their heads are not where they need to be. I know we’ve got a good group of guys that have to get back dialed in really quick so I expect this will get cleaned up.”