Pats 6 Rebels 1
REGINA — After matching their WHL foes stride for stride through 40 minutes, the Red Deer Rebels were running on fumes in the third period of Sunday’s contest versus the Regina Pats.
The Rebels were every bit the Pats’ equal for two periods and held a 20-17 edge in shots despite trailing 2-1.
But then came a fateful final stanza in which the visitors were outshot 21-2 and outscored 4-0.
“For the first two periods we were really good and didn’t capitalize on some opportunities,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter, following a 6-1 loss to the Pats before 5,729 fans at the Brandt Centre.
“Then in the third period, just like last night (in a 4-2 loss at Moose Jaw), we stopped moving our feet, got soft, our positional play wasn’t good and we made some bad mistakes.”
The Pats notched what proved to be an insurance goal 4:27 into the final frame when Emil Oksanen completed a hat trick performance by cashing a rebound off the end boards.
“We were really good for two periods, but the third caught up to us,” said Sutter. “We made a bad mistake early in the third, trying to carry the puck out of our zone, and it kind of snowballed from that point on.”
Bryce Platt scored from a scramble 80 seconds later, former Rebels defenceman Josh Mahura, on a power play, beat Red Deer netminder Lasse Petersen from the high slot at 7:06, and Dawson Davidson rounded out the Pats’ late charge with a point shot that glanced off the cross bar.
To be fair, the Rebels were playing their third game in less than three full days, considering Sunday’s affair was a 4 p.m. start.
“It’s not easy when you’re playing six periods in less than 24 hours,” said Sutter. “We probably ran out of gas, but when that happens you have to keep the game simple.”
Oksanen was credited with a fluke goal that opened the scoring, as his attempted cross-ice feed in the first period glanced off the skate of Rebels defenceman Brandon Schuldhaus and past Petersen.
With the Pats up 1-0, Oksanen tallied again 5:37 into the second period, connecting from the low slot.
Mason McCarty pulled the Rebels to within one with a power-play marker late in the middle stanza, converting a cross-crease pass from Brandon Hagel. But the final period belonged to the hosts.
While the Rebels managed just one win on the three-game trip, Sutter said it was a productive excursion on another front.
“The key this weekend was it was good to sort things out over three games because it showed some individuals that there are certain roles on the team they have to play,” said Rebels boss.
In addition . . .
“There are things we have to get better at and understand what we are as a team,” he continued. “We’re giving up way too many goals and that can’t be accepted.
“We gave up 14 goals in the last three games. That’s more than four a game and it’s hard to win when you’re doing that.”
Just notes: Tyler Brown made 21 saves as the winning netminder Sunday . . . Red Deer was one-for-seven with a man advantage and Regina was two-for-four . . . The Rebels were scheduled for a day off Monday and will return to the Centrium Ice Tuesday to prepare for their next game — Saturday at home against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Pats 6 Rebels 1