Tigers 5 Rebels 2
The Medicine Hat Tigers took an early lead and never looked back as they snapped the Red Deer Rebels six-game winning streak.
After scoring three goals in the first period, the Tigers went on to beat the Rebels 5-2 in Western Hockey League Action on Friday night at the Centrium.
With their first loss in nearly three weeks, the Rebels drop to second place in the WHL Central Division, one point behind the first place Tigers.
“Mentally, we weren’t where we needed to be and we didn’t play like we wanted to be first in our division. They (Tigers) came in here and played well. They have some top end skill and if you’re going to be turning pucks over and not playing straight lines, you’re going to get nailed,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
In just his third start as a Rebel, goalie Lasse Petersen let in three goals on just 12 shots, opening the door for rookie net minder and fan favourite Riley Lamb to enter the game.
“We just weren’t sharp. Our defence didn’t have good gaps, we weren’t transitioning the game quick like we normally do and we were soft on pucks. Our overall game wasn’t good, as individuals and as a team,” said Sutter.
Heading into Friday’s game, the Tigers held the second best power play in the WHL and had only gone two games without scoring on the man advantage.
The trend continued early in the first period when Tigers forward Max Gerlach opened the scoring after Rebels forward Brandon Hagel was issued the game’s first penalty on a high stick.
“It’s important to stay out of the box in this league against all teams. There’s a lot of skill in this league and that was a bad penalty to take early in the game and you can’t do that. It’s a 185 feet from your net and a selfish play. You can’t play that way,” said Sutter.
The Tigers added two more in the frame on goals by forward’s Mark Rassell and David Quenneville, before Rebels forward Michael Spacek scored his eighth goal of the season, extending his point streak to 10 games (8 goals, 8 assists) and cutting their deficit to 3-1.
Early in the second period the Rebels had a chance to get back in the game with a couple of power play chances, but the Tigers were the team to capitalize when forward Mason Shaw scored a shorthanded goal padding their lead to 4-1.
Rebels defenceman Josh Mahura scored his fifth goal of the season in the third period to make it 4-2 before Gerlach added his second goal of game with a minute left to put the game out of reach.
Rebels went 0-for-7 on the power play and out shot the Tigers 40-39.
The Rebels look to start a new winning streak tonight as they begin an eight-game road trip in Lethbridge against the division rival Hurricanes.
Note: Attendance was 4,581.