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Rebels fall just short in provincial capital

Photo by Rob Wallator

Oil Kings 2 Rebels 1

EDMONTON — The one constant for the Red Deer Rebels this season, through good and bad, has been Brandon Hagel.

Right now, with their Western Hockey League playoff hopes dwindling, the Rebels simply need more from more players.

“You have to score more goals,” said GM/head coach Brent Sutter, following Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings at Rexall Place, a game in which the Rebels probably deserved a better fate.

“We can’t just continue to rely on (number) 22 to drive us offensively. We need more offensively from some other guys, some of whom didn’t create a scoring chance tonight.

“We’re just not getting enough consistency from some guys. There’s too much inconsistency.”

The Oil Kings led 2-0 after one period on goals from Scott Atkinson at 8:56 and David Kope, with his 11th, at 15:24.

Hagel, with his 34th goal of the season, brought the Rebels to within one at 14:29 of the second period.

Neither team could find the back of the net in the final frame, in which the Rebels held a 10-7 edge in shots.

Dylan Myskiw made 29 saves in the Oil Kings net, including a handful through a screen, while Ethan Anders turned aside 26 shots for the Rebels.

The Rebels host the Oil Kings Saturday at 7 p.m. and a split in the home-and-home set is a virtual must for Red Deer, which fell out of a post-season berth when the Brandon Wheat Kings downed the visiting Saskatoon Blades 6-2 Friday.

Brandon moved two points clear of the Rebels for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Red Deer, though, is also just three points back of the Calgary Hitmen.

“We need guys to put more pressure on themselves to get the job done, our older players but our younger guys too,” said Sutter.

Notable: Selected as the game’s three stars were (1) Myskiw, (2) Hagel and (3) Atkinson . . . Attendance was 7,557 . . . The Rebels were zero-for-two on the power play, while the Oil Kings were zero-for-three with a man advantage.

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