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Shorthanded Rebels drop second straight game

Saskatoon beats Red Deer 6-2

Blades 6 Rebels 2

It was certainly not the outcome the Red Deer Rebels were hoping for Saturday night in Saskatoon.

After keeping it interesting in the first period, the Rebels were unable to weather the storm in the middle frame and lost 6-2 to the Saskatoon Blades.

The Rebels were shorthanded in the matchup, taking on the Blades without captain Jayden Grubbe, forward Dwayne Jean Jr., defenceman Marek Schneider, and defenceman Quentin Bourne.

Head coach Steve Konowalchuk said the players out of the lineup were to manage “a few bumps and bruises.”

Ultimately, the Rebels bench boss said the score didn’t reflect their effort.

“It wasn’t as bad as the score showed,” he said.

“I thought we came out alright and we didn’t finish on a couple of our chances early on. There were a couple of mistakes that were on the bigger side but the other team was able to capitalize… It’s hard to catch up when you got a bit shorter of a bench.”

With seven minutes left in the opening period, the Blades took a 1-0 lead when Saskatoon forward Lukas Hansen buried an opportunity.

Red Deer found the equalizer a few minutes after that, by the newest member of the Rebels Ryker Singer who picked the far corner of the net from a side angle on the powerplay. That was Singer’s first as a member of the Rebels since being dealt to Red Deer this week.

Blades forward Connor Roulette fired a shot into the back of the net to retake the lead heading into the second period.

In the middle frame, Saskatoon’s Vaughn Watterodt potted a goal to make it 3-1 on the powerplay. Trevor Wong scored three minutes after that which triggered a goalie change.

Goaltender Chase Wutzke came in for Rhett Stoesser who let in four goals on 18 shots. Wutzke, who has been called up to the Rebels for the last week to cover for an injured Kyle Kelsey, finished with 16 saves on 18 shots.

The Blades added one more in the second frame scored by Igor Sidorov on the powerplay and Trevor Wong added his second of the game in the third period.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Red Deer as Singer dropped the gloves in the middle period only to score his second goal in a Rebels uniform on the powerplay in the game’s final minutes.

“I think both games [Singer] showed that he’s got a pretty good knack for getting a shot off,” Konowalchuk said.

“There’s some ability there to contribute points. He’s not afraid to go into the dirty areas … He certainly looks like there is good potential with him and in two games he’s fit in pretty nice.”

Red Deer mustered a pair of goals on the powerplay in seven opportunities and allowed the Blades to snipe three on the man advantage in seven attempts.

There’s no doubt it was a frustrating loss for the Rebels but in order for the team to bounce back Konowalchuk wants his team to focus on the positives.

“I think in Prince Albert we played a really strong game and we’re going to win nine out of 10 of those, if not more if we keep playing that way,” he said.

“In this game, there were some chances there early we could have capitalized on and came out ahead in the first period but I certainly don’t feel we need to change a whole lot.”

The Rebels will hit the ice at home on Wednesday night at the Peavey Mart Centrium against the Moose Jaw Warriors following the WHL’s trade deadline on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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