Warriors 5 Rebels 2
MOOSE JAW — The Red Deer Rebels dominated the shot clock Friday but came up short where it really counted.
Despite outshooting their hosts 38-17, the Rebels dropped a 5-2 decision to the Moose Jaw Warriors in a WHL contest witnessed by 3,008 fans at Mosaic Place.
“We played pretty darn good defensively. We didn’t give up much,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
Unfortunately, the Rebels didn’t make life that difficult for Warriors netminder Evan Evanoff, particularly in the first 40 minutes.
“Their goalie saw a lot (of shots) during the first two periods. We didn’t create enough traffic and get after the puck,” said Sutter. “We let him see shots. We didn’t make it hard on him the first two periods. We weren’t getting enough traffic around the goalie.”
Following a scoreless first period in which the Rebels held an 8-5 advantage in shots, the Warriors struck for three unanswered goals in the middle frame.
Anaheim Ducks prospect Brayden Tracey notched his first of four goals on the evening when he buried a rebound a mere 1:34 into the second, then, from the left circle, caught the far corner on Rebels netminder Ethan Anders during a Moose Jaw power play two minutes later.
Matthew Benson, from the right point, made it 3-0 on a shot that appeared to deflect off a Rebels player, which spelled the end for Anders who was replaced by Byron Fancy.
“Their second and third goals, you need saves at this level,” said Sutter. “I thought Andy struggled tonight, he wasn’t as sharp as we need him to be.
“I didn’t think we played that bad. We got lots of shots at their net and in the third some of our veterans played better than in the first two periods.”
Tracey made it 4-0 with a goal off a scramble early in the final frame before Chris Douglas converted a feed from Brett Davis to get the Rebels on the board shortly after and Jaxsen Wiebe cut the deficit in half by cashing a rebound just over three minutes later.
The Rebels continued to push — outshooting their hosts 14-4 in the final 20 minutes — but Tracey scored into en empty net with under two minutes remaining.
Anders finished with seven saves on 10 shots while Fancy turned aside five of the six shots he faced. Evanoff made 36 saves at the other end.
“Our goaltending has to be better and we have to continue to work on keeping our shots (against) down and continue to work at getting more pucks to the net,” said Sutter.
The Rebels were one-for-five on the power play; the Warriors were two-for-four.
“Our penalty kill hasn’t been good because our best penalty killers haven’t been good enough, and that’s our goaltenders,” said Sutter.
“We have to get them through it.”
The Rebels continue their six-game road trip Sunday with an afternoon engagement with the Regina Pats.