Rebels not dwelling on disappointing loss to Brandon; Flaman released
A bad loss can get a team down, but the Red Deer Rebels will instead try to build on the positives that came out of Tuesday’s 6-5 setback at the hands of the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings.
The defeat was particularly tough to take, considering the hosts ran out to a 5-1 lead after 40 minutes, then surrendered four third-period goals and fell 6-5 in overtime.
But, as defenceman Brandon Schuldhaus said Thursday, he and his teammates have turned the page as they prepare for a pair of weekend home-ice contests — Friday versus the Regina Pats and Saturday against the Calgary Hitmen.
“Obviously, we started out and played the first two periods the way we wanted to,” he said, in reference to the Tuesday loss. “But in that last period, obviously, there was a lot of things we don’t want to be doing . . . a lot of turnovers, a lot of mistakes that cost us.
“Going into this weekend we want to focus on the way we played the first two periods. That was some of the best hockey we’ve played in the last 10 games or so and we’re just going to try and do that for the full 60 minutes this weekend.”
The ability to go all out and maintain their focus through an entire game hasn’t been a strength of the team this season. And in too many contests, the third period has been their worst, a fact that’s not lost on Schuldhaus.
“It’s on us as players. Individually, we all need to be a little more prepared and willing to stick with it for 60 minutes,” he said. “Obviously that’s something that has cost us a number of games, so that’s something that we’re working on.”
Despite their third-period meltdown Tuesday, the Rebels, through the first two periods, at least, were on the verge of turning in a second consecutive passing performance. Although Red Deer was coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Hitmen in Calgary three days earlier, the team’s overall play was much more consistent in that game.
“That was a really good defensive game by both sides,” Schuldhaus acknowledged. “There weren’t a lot of goals, a lot of shots or good scoring opportunities.
“So that was a big step for us and we’ll take the positives from that game and the Brandon game and try and build on those.”
Overage forward Jack Flaman is back in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League after being released by the Rebels and clearing WHL waivers on Wednesday.
Flaman has joined the Notre Dame Hounds and in fact was in their lineup on Wednesday evening in a 3-2 win over the Melville Millionaires.
On the heels of a pair of recent deals that sent Akash Bains and Jared Dmytriw to Everett and Vancouver, Flaman, a 20-year-old centre, was released this week in a further effort to open up more ice time for the team’s younger players, including recent call-ups River Fahey and Justin Svenson.
The decision was a mutual one, said Sutter.
“He totally understood it,” the Rebels boss said of Flaman, who scored twice and added five assists in 14 games after being acquired from Lethbridge in October in return for an overage fee.
Sutter admired Flaman’s maturity and character and thus offered him a chance to stay with the Rebels in a non-playing role.
“I talked to him about another scenario, about possibly staying here and being part of our staff if he chose not to play (elsewhere) this season,” said Sutter.
“But he still wanted to play and he felt pretty comfortable about going back there (Notre Dame) and playing. I understand that.”
Flaman played with the Hounds briefly in 2013-14, then was with the team for 15 games in 15-16 and two contests earlier this season.
Rebels vs. Regina Pats, Friday 7 p.m., Centrium
The 2018 Memorial Cup host Pats are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games and sit fourth in the East Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference with a record of 13-12-2-0 . . . C Matt Bradley has produced 17 goals and 31 points as Regina’s current premier point producer. C Sam Steel has contributed 10 goals and 27 points in 22 games, while RW Emil Oksanen (11-13-24) and former Rebels D Josh Mahura (7-15-22), have both cracked the 20-point barrier . . . Tyler Brown is 15th among WHL goalies with a 3.07 goals-against average and 21st with a save percentage of .897 . . . The Pats have six NHL-drafted players — Steel (Anaheim, first round 2016), Mahura (Anaheim, second round 2016), C Jake Leschyshyn (Vegas, second round 2017), D Cale Fleury (Montreal, third round 2017), RW Nick Henry (Colorado, fourth round 2017) and LW Austin Wagner (Los Angeles, fourth round 2015).
Injuries: Regina — LW Bryce Platt (upper body, day-to-day), LW Austin Wagner (upper body, week-to-week). Red Deer — None.
Special teams: Regina — Power play 23.7 per cent, 11th overall; penalty kill 69 per cent, 21st. Red Deer — Power play 17.6 per cent, 19th overall; penalty kill 76.2 per cent, 14th.