After notching their first win of the season in Lethbridge, the Red Deer Rebels returned home to take on the Calgary Hitmen in hopes of bringing their record to .500.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, a late surge by the Hitmen would lead to Red Deer falling 5-1.
Coach Brent Sutter, after his team broke into the win column, decided to start Byron Fancy for the first time this season and Fancy was immediately tested by a swarming Calgary offensive game.
Calgary would score two powerplay goals in the first period — the first by Igor Zamula and the second by Riley Stotts — but Rebels Captain Dawson Barteaux would score a man-advantage in between to ensure the Calgary lead was only 2-1 heading into the second.
The second period wouldn’t bear fruit for either team, but the third would see the Hitmen break out right away after Stotts beat Fancy once again for his second of the game — extending the Calgary lead to 3-1.
“Just a routine play. That should never happen, Sutter said about the play.
Stotts woud remain all over the ice and would ultimately put the Rebels away when he beat Fancy once again short-handed for his hat trick. Hitmen Layne Toder would add an insurance goal with seven to play, extending the lead to the final score 5-1.
Sutter said his team turned too many pucks over in the third.
“We had pucks on our stick and we would try to make a difficult play instead of making an easy play,” he said.
Fancy would stop 28 shots in the loss, while Jack McNaughton would only need to stop 15 for the win.
Sutter said his team needs to work on their special teams.
“It is a young team and we have to continue to work with them. We have a lot of work to do with this group and we have to work with them,” Sutter said.
The Rebels will look to rebound Tuesday night when they welcome the Saskatoon Blades to the Westerner Park Centrium.
“We have to stay working on it. We are four games in and it is real hockey now. It’s the first major-junior hockey for some of these kids,” he said.