Ethan Anders stopped all 33 shots he faced as the Red Deer Rebels shut out the Saskatoon Blades Wednesday night at SaskTel Centre.
Rebels defenceman Jacob Herauf opened the scoring at 1:49 in the first period with a point shot that found its way past Blades goaltender Tyler Brown.
Brown was solid in net making 24 saves and keeping the deficit to one, until the Rebels scored an empty net goal with 1:07 left in the game.
After the game, Brown said his team missed an opportunity.
“We didn’t take advantage of a team who has been on the road for six nights or something like that,” he said. “The intensity wasn’t quite there, as we saw last weekend and Saturday.”
The Blades top line of Braylon Shmyr, Chase Wouters and Josh Paterson kept up sustained pressure in the Rebels’ zone throughout the game.
The third period saw the Blades muster everything they could to try and sneak one past the Rebels goaltender.
But four failed power play chances and sloppy play in the neutral zone hindered the Blades from converting that sustained offensive zone time into goals.
Eric Florchuk’s backhand chance midway through the third would be the closest the Blades got to a marker.
But Anders’ pads were squeezed tight enough to keep the puck from crossing the goal line.
Saskatoon travels to Prince Albert Friday to take on a Raiders team that trails the Blades by just three points for the final playoff spot in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.
Blades head coach Dean Brockman understands how vital that game is.
“It’s the biggest game of the year,” he said.
“We haven’t played real well for quite a lengthy period of time,” he said, “It’s up to each individual to try to get themselves going.”