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Rebels get caught chasing in shutout loss to Winter Hawks

Photo by Rob Wallator

Winter Hawks 5 Rebels 0

Shots on net are obviously the initial key to scoring goals, but to threaten the opposing goaltender a team has to possess the puck.

The Red Deer Rebels never saw much of the rubber disc Friday night at the Centrium and managed a mere 16 shots at Portland Winter Hawks netminder Joel Hofer in a 5-0 loss witnessed by 4,006 fans.

“I didn’t like our game at all,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter, who watched his club surrender two goals in the first period, Red Deer’s best frame. “I just thought we were soft on a lot of pucks.”

Seth Jarvis opened the scoring 10:32 into the contest on a Portland power play, his wrist shot from the left circle catching the back of the net. The referee initially ruled the puck struck the post, but after a stoppage in play the goal was confirmed via replay.

Portland’s second goal was somewhat of a fluke as a feed from Jarvis glanced off Simon Knak, who was racing hard to the net, and past Rebels stopper Ethan Anders in the final minute of the period. 

“We started off fine for the first seven to eight minutes of the game,” said Sutter. “Then they got that first goal, then the second goal and we started playing a lot of individual hockey and got away from our team game.”

The Rebels managed a mere two shots in the second period and three in the third while playing long stretches in their own end.

“We played like we wanted to play a skilled game,” said Sutter. “We have some skilled players but the guys have to understand that work ethic and compete come first.”

Portland captain Johnny Ludvig upped the count to 3-0 with a power play tally at 13:48 of the middle stanza. His wrist shot from just inside the blueline sailed through a crowd and past a screened Anders.

Clay Hanus notched an almost identical goal four minutes later and it was pretty much game, set and match.

Jake Gricius concluded the scoring early in the third period, batting his own rebound past Byron Fancy, who replaced Anders after 40 minutes.

“What did we have, four or five shots after the first period?” Sutter queried. “I thought we just chased the game a lot tonight.”

Anders stopped 25 of the 29 shots he faced and made terrific saves on Robbie Fromm-Delorme and Matthew Quigley, while Fancy turned aside 11 of 12. Hofer barely broke a sweat while posting a 16-save shutout.

The Rebels were on the power play on five occasions and seldom threatened. The visitors, meanwhile, were two-for-five with a man advantage.

The Winter Hawks swept the three stars, with (1) Jarvis, (2) Ludvig and (3) Hofer getting the nod.

The Rebels return to action Saturday against the host Medicine Hat Tigers.

Red Deer’s next home game is next Friday versus the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. The Regina Pats will visit the Centrium the following night.

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