Mistakes rained down in bunches on the Red Deer Rebels Saturday.
After wins in five straight, the Rebels stumbled against the Medicine Hat Tigers at the Centrium in front 3,771 fans.
Medicine Hat scored five unanswered goals in the final 25 minutes of the contest to sink the Rebels 7-3.
“When you give up seven goals you aren’t going to win. I thought we did some really good things, we controlled things in the offensive zone, but just the blatant mistakes we made managing the pucks,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.
“They’ve got skilled forwards and they’re going to burn you on it and they did. Probably an off night for our goalie. He didn’t play as well as we need him to. That’s going to happen now and then through a season, but it’s not like I’m leaving here really disappointed with our group. We competed and did some good things.”
It was the first Rebels loss at home since game two of the WHL season, on Sept. 22.
Red Deer jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and looked in complete control early.
Just under two minutes into the game, Arshdeep Bains out battled Tigers goalie Mads Sogaard for a loose puck. He flipped it out to Josh Tarzwell who buried into a wide-open net.
Tarzwell returned the favour to Bains 2:18 later and forced the Tigers to call a timeout.
Whatever Tigers head coach Shaun Clouston had to say clearly worked. Less than a minute after the Bains’ tally, Bryan Lockner buried his first of the game to cut the deficit.
“Bad first goal. Your goalie has to make that save for you. Then I took the timeout because I thought (Ethan Anders) needed to refocus. He just wasn’t sharp the rest of the night,” Sutter said.
Late in the frame, Josh Williams finished off a two-on-one with a tap in to tie the game.
Midway through the second, just seconds after an Oleg Zaystev hooking penalty expired, he broke up a Tigers breakout and sent Chris Douglas in all alone on Sogaard.
Douglas went bar down on the breakaway to give the Rebels a 3-2 advantage.
Red Deer controlled the puck for a full two minutes on the power play in the Tigers end following that goal. They failed to convert and momentum seemed to shift.
After that, goals came fast and furious for the visitors.
“We controlled it, one player got caught out tired and we turned the puck over and it ends up in our net. (Those) are just mistakes you can’t make. You kind of get what you deserve,” Sutter said.
Tigers forward Tyler Prezuiso forced a turnover deep in the Rebels end and proceeded to bury his 10th of the season past Anders.
Bryan Lockner gave Medicine Hat the lead at 17:38 of the second and James Hamblin buried 12 seconds into a Brandon Hagel tripping penalty to extend the advantage.
Sutter pulled Anders after 40 minutes. The young netminder allowed five goals on 20 shots. Byron Fancy stopped 11 shots in relief.
“I thought I would let Andy get a rest and get him ready for Tuesday,” Sutter said.
“Just one of those nights, the goalie is not going to be razor sharp every night. That stuff happens.”
Prezuiso picked the pocket of Carson Sass for his second goal of the night in the third and Trevor Longo added another goal late to close out the victory.
Sogaard had a strong night in the Tigers net with 25 saves.
Red Deer will face off against the Prince Albert Raiders, the CHL’s top team on Tuesday night at home. Puck drop is 7 p.m. at the Centrium.