Pats 7 Rebels 2
REGINA — The Red Deer Rebels are close to being at full strength, but having everyone on the same page is another matter altogether.
The Rebels certainly weren’t a cohesive unit as they dropped a 7-2 decision to the Regina Pats in Western Hockey League action Sunday afternoon.
It was the final game of a three-games-in-three-days road trip, which saw them opening in Moose Jaw on Friday, then stop in Brandon on Saturday.
The Rebels opened with a 4-3 come-from-behind overtime victory over the Warriors, before losing 5-2 to the Wheat Kings on Saturday.
But Sunday was the worst of the three, according to Sutter.
“There was no way we deserved to be in this game,” he said. “When you give up three shorthanded goals and two on the power play that’s not good. And the shorthanded goals came when we had our top players on the ice. We simply were not on the same page.”
Sam Steel opened the scoring for the Pats with a power play marker at 5:48 against Riley Lamb, then Braydon Buziak connected at 15:38 and Dawson Leedahl at 18:58, both while shorthanded.
“You can’t blame the defence for that,” said Sutter. “The score looks back for the defence, but really they weren’t that bad. There was no help.
“We have to get it together. Our leadership group has to be more so now than ever. We need them to get it together.”
The Rebels looked as if they were coming together when they overcame a 3-1 deficit in the third period to beat Moose Jaw.
“We have most of our guys back from the NHL camps and yet there’s no cohesion. That showed with three shorthanded goals. That just can’t happen, it’s unacceptable.”
Nick Henry gave the Pats a 4-0 lead at 1:35 of the second period before Grayson Pawlenchuk connected at 7:08. However, Steel notched his second of the game at 15:47.
Evan Polei opened the scoring for the Rebels in the third period before Jake Leschyshyn scored a power play marker at 17:11 and Austin Wagner connected, once again shorthanded, at 18:38.
Lamb finished with 27 saves, while his teammates had 32 shots on Tyler Brown.
On Saturday, the teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes only to see Nolan Patrick break the tie just 12 seconds into the second period.
Tyler Coulter scored for Brandon on the power play at 18:48 of the first period with Pawlenchuk replying at 19:16, also on the power play.
The Wheat Kings led 2-1 after 40 minutes. Tanner Kaspick made it 3-1 with a power play goal at 5:00 of the third period before D-Jay Jerome had his fourth of the season for the Rebels at 5:59, also with the man advantage. Coulter completed the scoring with an empty net marker at 17:24.
Trevor Martin made 27 saves for the Rebels. Jordan Pipirny had 36 saves for Brandon.
The Rebels, 1-2-1-1, will look to get back on track this week with three home games — Wednesday against the Kamloops Blazers, Friday against the Medicine Hat Tigers and Saturday against the Kelowna Rockets. All games are at 7 p.m.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca