BIG PLAY - Rebels’ forward Reese Johnson would come close on this chance against Calgary Hitmen netminder Nick Schneider. The Rebels would go on to to win 4-2. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

Rebels follow good win over Hitmen with tough loss to Cougars

Red Deer was looking to right the ship after a tough loss to Saskatoon

After a tough 4-1 loss to the Saskatoon Blades last weekend where the Rebels looked completely out of sorts, they were looking to right the ship against their QEII rivals – the Calgary Hitmen.

Both Calgary and Red Deer came into the game having lost three of the last five games and were looking to get back in the win column.

The Rebels looked ready to play right out of the gate when Lane Zablocki notched his second goal of the season in the first minute of play.

The Hitmen would play Red Deer even for the rest of the first period, with chances going both ways but neither team managing to find the twine.

The Rebels would manage to extend their lead six minutes into the second when Brandon Hagel and Kristian Reichel hooked up Mason McCarty for his team-leading ninth goal of the season.

The Rebels would have have the majority of the chances, but would be unable to capitalize again, keeping score at 2-0 heading into the final frame.

The Rebels would start the third similar to how they started the first, with a quick goal in the first two minutes by Austin Pratt.

Red Deer Captain Grayson Pawlenchuk would follow that up with his seventh of the season on a beauty feed from Jared Dmytriw with 12 minutes to go.

“That was a lot better game compared to our last one,” Pawlenchuk said. “It was a lot better in terms of playing a 60-minute game.

“We had four lines going and that is was we want to play,” Rebels’ Coach Brent Sutter said.

The Hitmen would finally show some life a minute later when Jake Bean found Tristen Nielson for his first goal of the season, bringing the score to 4-1 Red Deer.

The Hitmen would follow that up with a late goal by Drea Esposito with 37 seconds, remaining, however the Rebels would run away with the 4-2 victory.

“Our effort and compete level was certainly at a different level than it was last weekend,” Sutter said. “That is what we wanted to see. We played with emotion and intensity.”

Rebels’ netminder Ethan Anders would stop 24 shots in the win.

“He stood on his head and made a couple great saves. That is definitely great to have,” Pawlenchuk said.

“I felt good about our preparation for tonight in terms of the kid’s mindsets,” Sutter added.

The Rebels would play again the following evening against the visiting Prince George Cougars.

Unforuntately for the home team, the Cougars would run away with a tough-to-swallow 4-1 win.

The Cougars would notch goals from Jackson Leppard, Josh Mason, Brogan O’Brien and Aaron Boyd.

Prince George goaltender Tavin Grant would stop 34 of the Rebels 35 shots on goal.

McCarty would score the only goal for the Rebels, who dropped to 6-5-0-0 and would move in to a virtual lock with Edmonton and Medicine Hat in the Central Division all with 12 points.

The Rebels will look to get back on track this weekend where they play two games at home-Friday against Spokane and Saturday against Regina.

Spokane comes into the game into the game three in the U.S. division at 7-5-0-1 for 14 points and the Pats are currently sitting first in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race at 7-5-1-0.

Both games are at the Enmax Centrium at 7 p.m.

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

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