Rebels falter in third period once again, fall 4-1 to Giants

Photos by Rob Wilton

Giants 4 Rebels 1

LANGLEY, B.C. — The Red Deer Rebels experienced yet another case of the third-period blues Wednesday evening.

The Rebels gave up four goals in the final 13 minutes and fell 4-1 to the Vancouver Giants in a WHL contest witnessed by 2,347 fans at the Langley Events Centre.

The outcome was decided in much the same manner 24 hours previous, a 3-1 loss to the Victoria Royals.

“I thought we played well again tonight for a good part of the game,” said Rebels GM/bench boss Brent Sutter, who coached his 1,000th WHL contest. “But our details seem to get the best of us. Just like last night . . .  it was basically the same tonight.”

The Rebels kept the Giants off the scoreboard for the first two periods thanks mainly to netminder Byron Fancy, then broke a scoreless tie when Ethan Sakowich notched a power play goal early in the final frame.

The Red Deer captain connected on a low point shot that found its way through a crowd, clanking off a post and past goalie Trent Miner.

What momentum the Rebels gained from the marker was killed shortly after when Tristen Nielsen pulled the Giants even just nine seconds after Red Deer rookie Jayden Grubbe was dealt a tripping penalty.

“That was a tough call on us. We’re up 1-0 and a tough call goes against us,” said Sutter. “But that’s how it goes.”

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Michal Kvasnica scored the eventual winner at 12:48, hammering home a bouncing puck in the low slot, and Colorada Avalanche prize prospect Bowen Byram connected on a three-on-one break two minutes later.

“We break down in our own zone and give up a goal right in the middle of the slot, like we did last night,” said Sutter.

“Then we give up an odd-man break after a high risk play in the offensive zone. Instead of playing the right way our details get away from us in the third. Guys have to stay with their game no matter what the score is. You can’t start cheating, you have to tighten up.

“We’ve lost a lot of third periods lately.”

Justin Sourdif, from deep in his own end, scored into an empty net with 1:27 remaining. The second-year Giants forward was robbed  by Fancy on three occasions in the third period.

Fancy turned in an impressive 39-save performance, while Miner blocked 23 shots at the other end.

Red Deer was one-for-three on the power play. Langley was one-for-five with a man advantage.

The Rebels stayed in the lower mainland Wednesday night and will depart for Kamloops Thursday. The Rebels take on the Blazers Friday, then face the Kelowna Rockets Saturday before concluding their five-game B.C. Division trip with a Monday afternoon meeting with the Prince George Cougars.

Red Deer’s next home game is Feb. 22 versus the Tri-City Americans.

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