Third period penalty costs Rebels in 4-2 loss to Blades

After the Red Deer Rebels scored short-handed and on the power play in the third period to win Friday, their fate was reversed a night later.

The Saskatoon Blades came from behind with special teams’ markers on both sides of the puck in the final frame to beat Red Deer 4-2 in WHL action at the SaskTel Centre.

The Rebels carried a 2-1 lead into the third period, but a Colton Bobyk slashing penalty early in the third put the Rebels short-handed and they could never recover.

“You’re up 2-1 leading in the third on the road, you have to close the deal,” Rebels GM and head coach Brent Sutter said. “Took a selfish, bad penalty to start the third and they capitalize on the power play… basically hand delivered them the two points tonight.”

Despite an outstanding performance from Evan Polei who scored twice in the second period for the Rebels, Red Deer was victimized by two costly penalties that the Blades were able to score on in both the first and third period.

Polei’s goals were his 18th and 19th of the season and the undrafted forward now leads the Rebels in that category. The 19 goals are also a career high for the 20-year-old. Polei was named third star on Saturday for his efforts.

His first goal was a redirection of an Adam Musil shot at 15:08 of period two and the second, a beautiful backhand that went just under the crossbar.

Musil after two assists on the night, has five points in five games since returning from representing the Czech Republic at the World Junior Hockey Championships.

Red Deer only managed 22 shots on Saturday, Sutter said while offensively they didn’t generate as many chances as they would have liked, it was enough to get the win if they played the right way.

“They played pretty good defensively, they did what they had to do, but I didn’t think we got enough pucks on net,” Sutter said.

“It was just one of those nights when we didn’t generate enough offence. It was pretty tight in the neutral zone. Didn’t really get much on the rush. You’re up 2-1 in the third if you just stay with it and keep things tight you’ll get a victory… if you do what we did you’ll lose 99 percent of the time.”

Lasse Petersen turned aside 19 shots in the loss.

The Rebels started behind the eight ball for the second night in a row, as they allowed a power-play goal by the Blades just 3:37 into the game. On Friday, Prince Albert scored on the man-advantage at 10:04 of the first to take the lead but the Rebels still managed to win.

Brandon Hagel is still dealing with an injury and was not available for Red Deer in the loss. Sutter said he’s still day-to-day.

The Rebels are back on the ice Sunday to finish their Saskatchewan road trip.

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