Hurricanes 4 Rebels 0
LETHBRIDGE — Brent Sutter has found the odd silver lining during his team’s extended Western Hockey League losing streak.
On Wednesday, however, he didn’t mince words when describing the Red Deer Rebels’ latest effort.
“We were terrible tonight. We didn’t play with any jam at all,” said the Rebels GM/head coach, following a 4-0 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the team’s ninth straight setback.
“You can’t play this way, and quite honestly it shocked us (coaching staff) because we expected with it being a divisional game that we’d show some urgency tonight.”
The visitors displayed very little — if any — of that in the first period. The Rebels were outshot 9-2 in the opening frame and surrendered the eventual winning goal when Egor Zudilov roofed a rebound over netminder Riley Lamb.
Ty Prefontaine notched what proved to be an insurance marker 6:03 into the middle stanza, converting a drop pass from Jordy Bellerive during a three-on-two break.
The Rebels were better in the second half of the period and throughout most of the third, but couldn’t solve ‘Canes netminder Stuart Skinner, who turned aside 21 shots in posting his third shutout of the season.
“We got a little better in the second and our best period was the third,” said Sutter. “But by then it was too late. We chased the game all night.”
The ‘Canes held a narrow 10-9 advantage in shots during the final frame and notched the game’s final two goals, off the sticks of Koletrane Wilson and Taylor Ross.
Wilson scored after Lamb played the puck up the boards and to the point, and was unable to get back into position before the Lethbridge defenceman found the back of the net with a quick release.
Ross then connected directly off a faceoff in the Rebels end, backhanding the puck through Lamb’s pads.
The Rebels stopper finished with 27 saves, including a handful of the difficult variety. Lamb denied Brennan Riddle on a breakaway and Jake Elmer and Zane Franklin on partial breaks.
Skinner, meanwhile, came up with impressive stops on Brandon Schuldhaus, Grayson Pawlenchuk and Austin Schellenberg.
Sutter didn’t have a post-game message for his charges.
“What are you going to say that hasn’t already been said since this began?” he queried.
“There has to be urgency to want to come out and play games. Right now we’re just too casual. We had a lot of guys who just didn’t show up tonight.”
The Rebels host the Moose Jaw Warriors and the Swift Current Broncos — two of the league’s top teams — Friday and Saturday.
Hurricanes 4 Rebels 0