On a night where the Red Deer Rebels looked like they had the game won, they found a way to lose.

Rebels were up 3-0 against the Calgary Hitmen with under a minute left in the second period, but gave up six straight goals on route to a 6-3 loss.

In what may have been the most important game of the year, Rebels Head Coach and GM Brent Sutter was at a loss of words.

“There’s not really an explanation, just being outworked by a team wanting it more than we did."

Heading into the game, the Rebels sat four points above the Hitmen for third place in the Central Division.

With the East Division being as strong as it is, whoever finishes fourth in the Central Division will mostly likely miss the playoffs.

To make things worse, the Rebels have played two more games than their division rival.

Down three with under a minute left in the second period, the Hitmen got things rolling with a power play goal to cut into the lead.

It was at that point where Sutter got a sense his team was in trouble.

“We started to see it coming when the score was 3-0, you started to see it coming in the last six minutes of the second period,” said Sutter.

Sutter has preached to his team all year about playing hard all game and never taking a shift off.

He said it’s been something the team has struggled with and Saturday night was no different. 

“That team plays hard for 60, but again it’s something that has hurt us over and over again this year since October."

Lane Zablocki was arguably the Rebels best forward, scoring twice for his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season.

Austin Pratt also scored for the Rebels and now has 14 goals.

Rebels will have a chance to redeem themselves Sunday night when they travel to Calgary for their third game in three nights.