Chris Douglas and the Red Deer Rebels battled the Saskatoon Blades on the road Wednesday. (File photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer Rebels struggle in lobsided loss to Saskatoon Blades

Blades 8 Rebels 1

In a crucial four-point game Wednesday, the Red Deer Rebels simply didn’t show up.

Trailing the Saskatoon Blades by seven points for the final WHL Eastern Conference wild card spot, the Rebels laid an egg on the road in Saskatoon.

The Blades scored twice, 13 seconds apart six minutes into the first period, then chased Byron Fancy at the 13:35 mark with their third goal of the frame.

Scott Walford made it 4-0 with a seeing eye-shot early in the second and although the Rebels outshot Saskatoon 14-10 in the first, it was never really close.

The Blades ended the night with three power play goals on five chances, Tristen Robins had five points and Kyle Crnkovic added a tally and three assists in the lobsided 8-1 win.

Careless mistakes and inexplicable turnovers spelled disaster for the Rebels from the hop.

“Just didn’t have enough guys going. Too many guys weren’t prepared to play,” said Rebels assistant coach Ryan Colville.

“It was a big game for us to stay in the hunt. It was a swing between five points back and nine. I was surprised we showed up the way we did. Very few guys rose to the occasion.”

Fancy made six stops on nine shots in 13:35 of play, while Ethan Anders entered in relief and made 23 saves. Blades netminder Koen MacInnes stopped all 14 shots he faced in a busy first and cruised the rest of the way with 30 saves in the win. Ben King scored the only Rebels goal midway through the second.

With the loss, the Rebels are now nine points out of a playoff spot with a 14-21-1-3 record and 29 games remaining in the season.

Friday the Rebels continue their road trip against the Brandon Wheat Kings before wrapping up the swing Saturday in Winnipeg.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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