Pats 4 Rebels 3
On some nights, the hockey gods are downright cruel.
For the Red Deer Rebels, they did more than enough good things to earn two points against the Regina Pats Saturday, only on this occasion, it was the visitors who earned the victory.
Regina picked up a 4-3 win at the Centrium in front of 3,869 fans, despite being outshot 48-24 and being out-chanced by the home side.
“I thought we played well. You out chance them two to one and outshoot them two to one, it was a good game. We did a really good job in a lot of areas. We created a lot of offence and got scoring chances. Pretty good in our own zone, too,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
Red Deer, trailing 4-2 in the third, scored early in the frame on a Cam Hausinger one-timer and had 14 minutes in which to find the equalizer. They were able to tie the game, despite a late power play and after outshooting Regina 13-2 in the frame.
It was a rough first start, to say the least for Rebels rookie Chase Coward, who was recalled early this week after Ethan Anders went down with an injury. After playing 59 seconds Tuesday in Swift Current, it was first WHL start for the 16-year-old, up straight from the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Coward allowed three goals on six shots in the first period and was replaced by Byron Fancy.
“It was a good experience for a young goalie, too in the first period. He even said after the first, things are a lot quicker here than it is in midget hockey. It was hard for him, a great experience,” Sutter said.
“When he goes back to midget, he can understand the difference between midget and major junior, especially when you’re a goaltender. I was proud of our team, I thought we played really hard.”
Regina opened the scoring on their first shot of the game, a brutal turnover on a breakout that Ty Kolle deposited backhand on Coward.
It got even worse for Coward after Ethan Sakowich tied he game for Red Deer, as Carson Denomie wired a wrister past the 16-year-old on the Pats second shot of the night.
Still, the home side kept pushing and tied the game at two, when it appeared Chris Douglas kicked the puck in. Upon review, it was a good goal because the puck was outside the crease and directed in off the players’ skate.
With the Rebels pressuring late in the period, a Hausinger hooking penalty deep in Regina territory put the home side down a man.
Coward will probably see Kolle is his nightmares after Saturday– the Pats’ sniper beat the netminder again with 3:40 left in the frame, eight seconds into a power play.
Red Deer outshot Regina 18-6 in the period but still trailed 3-2 after 20 minutes.
Fancy stopped 17 of 18 shots the rest of the way but was bested by Max Paddock who turned aside 45 of 48 shots to earn the win for Regina.
Robbie Holmes scored the only goal on Fancy with 7:20 left in the second to make it 4-2.
Hausinger scored his fifth of the year 5:18 into the third. He put a one-timer post and in on a great feed from Jayden Grubbe.
“They played well in Swift, too,” Sutter said of the Hausinger, Grubbe and Josh Tarzwell combination.
“It’s a heavy line. They’re big guys and when they’re moving their feet and skating and they’re hard on pucks. I thought that line played well. I thought everyone was pretty good.”
Coward was only forced into action because of the Anders injury and Sutter isn’t sure when his starter will be able to return.
“I don’t even want to say it’s day-to-day, he’s certainly won’t be ready for Wednesday and I don’t know if he’ll be back next weekend. We’ll just have to wait and see,” Sutter said.
The Rebels were also without the services of forward Jaxsen Wiebe, who suffered an injury Friday in practice and will be out for the foreseeable future with an upper body injury.