RED DEER - The Red Deer Rebels got goals from five different scorers in a 5-1 playoff triumph over the Regina Pats Friday night in the Centrium. With the win, the Rebels now lead the second round WHL series 3-2 and for the first time in these playoffs, the Pats are facing elimination.
The Pats were in a hole pretty much from the outset. They afforded Red Deer a 5-on-3 powerplay just 2:03 into the game and the Rebels' Haydn Fleury cashed in with his first of the playoffs at 3:02 for an early 1-0 lead.
That lead held up into the second period but the Pats had plenty of chances in the opening 40 minutes to make the Rebels pay, however they squandered four-minute and five-minute powerplays. They wound up trailing 2-0 after two periods.
The floodgates opened in the third as the Rebels mounted a 4-0 lead. The game might've turned at the 6:15 mark of the third when Regina's Cole Sanford appeared to have scored to make it 4-1 however the goal was called back and the Pats' Jared Freadrich was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking. It was an onscure ruling which caused much debate.
The Rebels subsequently went up 5-0 and all that was left was the shutout for Red Deer goaltender Rylan Toth however Regina's Sean Richards ended that with his first of the playoffs with 5:07 remaining.
Game over: 5-1 Rebels.
It was undoubtedly the Pats' worst game of the playoffs and perhaps their worst game in the New Year. Hopefully they can recover in Sunday's elimination game.
NOTES: Red Deer outshot the Pats 46-27. ... Regina was 0/5 on the powerplay and 4/5 killing penalties. ... The attendance was 6185.
The Pats now trail the series 3-2 and will look to force a Game 7 when they host Game 6 on Sunday at 4:00 pm in the Brandt Centre at 4:00 pm on 620 CKRM and Access 7.