Tigers 4 Rebels 2
The Red Deer Rebels were either heavy on the gas pedal or easing off the accelerator.
It turned out to be a bad mix of motion by the home side Friday night at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
The Rebels found themselves on the wrong side of a 2-0 count after one period despite dominating the pace of play, and ultimately were on the receiving end of a 4-2 WHL loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers.
“There were some good things we did, but we didn’t have everybody going all the time,” said Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk.
“At times I thought we played not bad, but we still have to learn that the desperation from every guy throughout the whole 60 minutes has to be there to win hockey games at this level.”
The vast majority of the opening period was played in the Medicine Hat end, but the Rebels couldn’t get a puck past Tigers netminder Beckett Langkow, who turned aside 11 shots. The visitors, meanwhile, took full advantage of their opportunities, scoring twice on three shots.
Lukas Svejkovsky one-timed a nifty feed from Corson Hopwo past Red Deer goalie Chase Coward 3:24 into the contest, and then potted his second of the night — en route to a hat-trick performance — six minutes later, bolting down the left side, cutting to the middle and beating Coward with a rising wrist shot.
Carter Anderson cut the deficit to one at the 13-minute mark of the middle period on a perfect deflection of a point shot by Hunter Mayo and the Rebels had momentum on their side heading into the final 20 minutes.
However, the Tigers struck just 20 seconds into the third, on the power play, as Bogdans Hodass snuck down from the point and buried a one-timer.
The goal seemed to squeeze the life out of the hosts for the remaining first half of the period, the Rebels needing more than seven minutes to register their first shot on net.
“Their third goal frustrated our guys for a bit, you could tell by the way we played,” said Konowalchuk. “I don’t know if it was emotions as much as trying to do too much, getting away from the game plan.
“I thought they regrouped after that, settled down and created a few more chances. But certainly that third goal was the back breaker for us, I thought.”
The visitors upped their lead to 4-1 when Svejkovsky potted his fifth of the season and third of the night at 5:24 of the third.
The Rebels got a late goal from Jace Weir with Coward on the bench in favour of an extra attacker. Weir moved down from the blueline and quickly fired a shot past Langkow following a perfect goalmouth pass from Ben King.
While the Rebels’ best players weren’t their best players overall, they enjoyed some dominant minutes without reaping the rewards. But it wasn’t a constant flow.
“It’s casual moments of not being quite sharp enough, small increments at times,” said Konowalchuk. “We have to get to the point where there are no moments like that, it’s every shift from every guy. We expect more from our guys.”
Langkow made 30 saves, including several of the outstanding variety, while Coward turned aside 15 shots.
The Rebels return to action Saturday against the host Lethbridge Hurricanes.
“Again, there were some good things tonight, but there were some bad things that we want to correct,” said Konowalchuk. “That will be our goal for tomorrow.”
Notable: The Tigers were one-for-four on the power play, the Rebels zero-for-two . . . The three stars: (1) Svejkovsky, (2) Langkow and (3) Anderson . . . The attendance was 3,192 . . . The Rebels reassigned 16-year-old forward Arjun Bawa to the Cowichan Capitals of the BCHL Friday.