The Chilliwack Bruins fell 4-3 to the Red Deer Rebels Friday night at Prospera Centre.
The start of this one couldn’t have been much worse for the good guys, who found themselves trailing 3-0 before the game was 10 minutes old.
Rebels defenceman Mathew Dumba opened the scoring at 4:21 on a solo rush up the right wing. Going one-on-one with a stick-less Jeff Einhorn, the Calgary native snapped a low hard shot from the right faceoff dot, beating Chilliwack netminder Lucas Gore for his fifth of the year.
Tyson Ness doubled the lead at 7:40 and Brett Ferguson scored at 8:30, camping in the blue paint to tip in an Aaron Borejko point shot.
Gore’s night was over quick, with his final stat line reading three goals on eight shots.
The rest of the opening frame was the Brandon Manning show, with the Bruins captain lifting his team back into the game. The Prince George native got Chilliwack on the board with a power play goal at 10:19. With Lucas Grayson serving two minutes for roughing, Manning blew a point shot past screened Red Deer keeper Darcy Kuemper for his ninth of the season.
Five minutes later, Rebels forward Colten Mayor put the Bruins on another power play when he cross-checked Kevin Sundher to the ice along the side boards. This time, Manning jumped up from the point, collecting the rebound from a Jamie Crooks shot and punching it past Kuemper.
Shots on goal in period one favoured Red Deer 16-11.
The Rebels got the only goal of the middle frame, with Turner Elson doing the damage. Pouncing on a turnover just inside the Chilliwack blueline, Byron Froese moved the puck to Ferguson, who put the puck on net for a tip in by Elson. His seventh of the season sent Red Deer to the final frame with a 4-2 cushion.
Shots on goal in period two favoured Red Deer 10-6.
The Bruins got back within one at 4:49 of period three on a power play goal by Ryan Howse. Elson was the goat on the play, turning the puck over to Curt Gogol behind the Rebels net. Gogol moved the puck to Roman Horak, who made a quick pass to Howse in front. The Calgary Flames prospect finished the bang-bang play with a quick short-side shot for his 17th of the season.
Chilliwack coach Marc Habscheid pulled goalie Braden Gamble with 2:37 remaining and the faceoff deep in Rebels territory. The Rebels made it a six-on-four deficit one minute later when Florida Panthers prospect Alex Petrovic hauled down Kevin Sundher on a breakaway.
The best Bruins chances was Horak’s. The Czech split Red Deer defenders Froese and Colin Archer on a solo rush up the gut. But Kuemper was there to make the save, snuffing out Chilliwack’s last chance.
Three stars were Ferguson (first), Manning (second) and Froese (third).
The Bruins are on the road tomorrow night, visting the Silvertips in Everett. The next home game is Nov. 19 when Chilliwack hosts the Tri-City Americans.