Warriors 4 Rebels 0
The fans decided they simply didn’t want to wait any longer.
After the Moose Jaw Warriors scored their fourth goal of the night, an empty-net tally with two minutes to play and Trey Patterson went to the penalty box for delay of game, the game got delayed for real.
Impatient fans decided that was the time for the annual Toque and Teddy Bear Toss, which typically takes place after the Red Deer Rebels’ first goal of the game. But, with no goals through 58 minutes, the fans took things into their own hands and threw their items onto the ice, causing about a 10-minute delay at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
In large part, it was Warriors netminder Jackson Unger who fans had to thank for the lack of goals from the home side.
The 16-year-old goalie from Calgary was brilliant in just his third career WHL start, picking up his first WHL shutout with 30 saves.
“It wasn’t a fun game to be on the bench, to be a part of. I thought it was just too inconsistent right from the start, all the way through,” said Red Deer Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk.
“That sort of boils down from structure to compete level and that was too inconsistent from player to player. You have to have every guy going, every shift throughout the 60 minutes. It was too inconsistent. It was not the identity we want to play to and we’ve got to get back at it.”
Jagger Firkus and Daemon Hunt provided all the offence Moose Jaw needed on the evening. Firkus had two absolutely beautiful goals, his first with 6:30 left in the first, a snipe that went bar down off the rush on Chase Coward.
The Rebels had a glorious chance to tie the game with less than a minute to go in the first, but they caught crossbar behind Unger.
Early in the second, Rebels standout defenceman Christoffer Sedoff got tangled up with the Warriors player and appeared to twist his ankle. He was helped off the ice and didn’t return. Konowalchuk had no update on his status post-game.
Firkus made it 2-0 midway through the second, another laser off the rush, this time on the power play for his 11th tally of the year. Coward made three huge saves with the Rebels shorthanded late in the period, but the Rebels didn’t gather any momentum from their netminder, who finished with 21 saves in the loss.
Hunt put the nail in the coffin with a one-timer that went five-hole on Coward early in the third and added the empty-net goal with 2:02 left in the game.
“We didn’t play to our identity, whether it was with the puck or physical play or even the structure without the puck. It got away from us and we’ve got to get back to the way we have a chance to be successful,” Konowalchuk said.
All the items that were thrown onto the ice Friday, were in support of the Red Deer Christmas Bureau, a non-profit organization that was set up to help children and families in need at Christmas.
Three stars: Unger (1), Hunt (2), Firkus (3)
The Rebels are back on the ice Sunday when they welcome the Calgary Hitmen to the Centrium, with puck drop set for 4 p.m.