The Red Deer Rebels hung with the Winnipeg ICE for 40 minutes Thursday night in Winnipeg but were bested in the third period by the ICE. (Advocate file photo)

The Red Deer Rebels hung with the Winnipeg ICE for 40 minutes Thursday night in Winnipeg but were bested in the third period by the ICE. (Advocate file photo)

Winnipeg ICE top Red Deer Rebels

ICE 4 Rebels 1

Once again, the Red Deer Rebels (8-5-1-0) hung around with the top team in Canada.

Just a week and a half after the Rebels went toe-to-toe with the Winnipeg ICE (13-1-0-0) in Red Deer, the ICE got the better of the visitors in Winnipeg Thursday earning a 4-1 victory.

Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk said his squad wasn’t quite all pulling in the same direction Thursday, despite being within a goal heading into the third period.

“The majority of our guys gave a pretty good effort. It was not quite our A-game from everybody. You need that on the road and you need that against top teams,” he said.

“A couple of details we have to correct are probably the difference there. The positive is I thought we gave them a pretty good game for the most part but there’s no reason we can’t clean up a couple little areas and come out with a win.”

ICE forward Connor McClennon opened the scoring on an unassisted tally 13:02 into the first, slipping a rebound past Chase Coward.

Blake Stevenson evened the score at one early in the second, with the Rebels’ only goal of the game, 3:35 into the frame. It was his sixth goal of the season and team-leading 14th point.

Mikey Milne scored for the ICE on the power play late in the second period, before Carson Lambos and Chase Bertholet added tallies in the third to round out the scoring.

Milne’s power play marker, his 10th goal of the season was the game-winning goal and a backbreaker for the Rebels, who killed off five of six man-advantage chances on the night.

“It’s tough to get momentum and it’s a really good power play over there. If you give them six tries, you’re not going to win the special teams battle too much when you do that,” Konowalchuk said.

Coward had a strong night with 30 saves, while Daniel Hauser was just a bit better with 31 saves in the Winnipeg net.

Three stars: Lambos (1), Bertholet (2) and Hauser (3).

The Rebels are in Brandon Friday night to take on the Wheat Kings, before heading back to Winnipeg Sunday for a rematch with the ICE.