The Rebels scored four goals in the second period and powered their way to a 6-4 victory against the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday night in Red Deer.
Tyson Ness led the way, scoring a pair of goals, while Cody Thiel, Brooks Maxewll, Mathew Dumba and Matt Bellerive added offence for Red Deer.
Kootenay got scoring from Jaedon Descheneau, who earned two goals, while Joey Leach and Levi Cable also found the back of the net.
Mackenzie Skapski got the start, but was pulled after the second period, allowing five goals in 30 shots. Hoflin, who hasn’t seen game action since the end of January, played out the final frame and surrendered a goal in 13 shots.
Rebels goaltender Patrik Bartosak turned away 30 pucks for Red Deer.
“We came in a day early and we weren’t mentally prepared to play,” said Ice head coach Ryan McGill. “Obviously, that falls on the coach and we got to be better in every situation.”
Bellerive struck first in the opening period, after collecting a rebound off a blocked shot from teammate Devan Fafard. Descheneau tied up the game 23 seconds later, hitting the twine on a feed from Sam Reinhart.
It was a shootout in the second period, as both teams combined for six goals—Red Deer with four, while the Ice notched a pair.
“There were some coverage issues that we weren’t mentally prepared as individuals to make the proper reads and do the right things according to how we’ve been playing all year,” said McGill, on the second period struggles. “This time of year, that can’t happen.”
Rhyse Dieno had a breakaway and attempted a wraparound, but lost the handle, however, Maxwell followed the play and was able to poke the puck in.
The two teams traded goals after that.
Levi Cable answered back a few minutes later to tie up the game, but Tyson Ness pulled Red Deer ahead with the man advantage.
Leach got his sixth goal of the year to bring the contest back to an even 3-3 score on an Ice powerplay, but that didn’t last.
Dumba got the go-ahead goal less than a minute later, while Ness got his second of the night off a deflection to make it a two-goal lead for Red Deer to close out the middle frame.
Cody Thiel put a slap shot for the only goal that went by Hoflin, while Descheneau scored late in the game off a wraparound play with the man advantage.
Red Deer capitalized once in four powerplay opportunities, while Kootenay got a pair of goals with the man-advantage.
Kootenay is looking for nine points as their magic number to clinch a playoff spot. The Ice need to collect nine points, or the Lethbridge Hurricanes need to lose enough games that would add up to nine points.
“These last seven games, I think we have to be fine tuning our game right now, we can’t afford to not be bringing our game each and every night,” said McGill.