Rebels 2 Tigers 7
In their first game back after a gruesome eight-game road trip, the Red Deer Rebels couldn’t match the fight of the Medicine Hat Tigers in Western Hockey League action Friday night.
Rebels lost to the Tigers 7-2 at the Centrium and are now winless in three games this season against their Central Division rival, while being outscored 18-6.
“They’re a skilled team and an older team that has a lot of skilled players. If you don’t play the right way against them, they’re going to score goals. They have guys who can put the puck in the back of the net,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
The Rebels are 2-7-1-0 in their last 10 games and Sutter said it has a lot to do with how the defence has been playing.
He said it puts goalies in a tough spot, but still believes both goalies need to be better to turn things around.
“We haven’t been getting the goal tending that we need. It’s been a battle. We’re in a rut and we need to find a way to get out of it,” said Sutter.
Tigers forward Matt Bradley scored the games first goal on a wrist shot from inside the the face-off circle with just over a minute into the game.
The Rebels responded a minute later, scoring their first power play goal against the Tigers this season, after 15 previous attempts.
Parked in front of the net, captain Adam Musil got his stick on a Colton Bobyk shot from the point.
Tigers forward John Dahlstrom scored his first of two goals with three minutes left to play in the first period after Musil took a minor penalty for roughing.
The Tigers took a 2-1 lead heading into the break.
“Our top players don’t play the right way defensively. Sure they score you goals, but they’re on ice for so many goals scored against us. They don’t stop and start, they’re circling in their zone and their soft,” said Sutter.
“Right now we’ve just got too many guys thinking about one thing and not about our overall game. It’s affecting us and hurting us.”
Rebels defenceman Austin Strand scored his first goal of the season with a blast from the point to tie it up early in the second period, but that didn’t last long.
The Tigers came firing back just 50 seconds later when Dahlstrom snuck in behind the defence and potted his second goal of the game, giving them a 3-2 lead.
Tigers captain Clayton Kirichenko scored with 44 seconds left in the second frame to put the Tigers up 4-2 heading into the third period.
The Tigers added three more goals in the third including Bradley’s second goal of the game.
Forward Tyler Preziuso and defenceman Kristians Rubins also scored, putting the game out of reach at 7-2.
Rebels were out shot 54-20 and finished 1-for-7 on the power play.
Rebels forward Michael Spacek was honoured before the game where he was named player of the month for October.
Spacek put up 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists) over that span.
The team is back on the road for two games beginning in Calgary on Tuesday with a game against the Hitmen.
Note: attendance was 6274.