Hurricanes 4 Rebels 3 (OT)
WAINWRIGHT — The official winners of Saturday’s WHL preseason game were the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Yet the real winners were the 2,112 fans who packed into the Peace Memorial Multiplex to watch the Hurricanes and the Red Deer Rebels do battle in a neutral location contest.
“It was a good hockey game, good for the fans,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “There was some grittiness involved, there were battles, a lot of scoring chances and some good goaltending.
“We got to see some things from some of our young players and I’m sure they (Hurricanes) are evaluating their guys like we are ours. It sorts itself out, as it always does.”
The Rebels appeared to be en route to their second win of the exhibition season but surrendered a tying goal to Adam Hall at 18:07 of the third period.
Logan Barlage then connected at 3:35 of overtime to give the ‘Canes a 4-3 victory.
Noah Boyko opened the scoring for Lethbridge 13:24 into the game, but Zak Smith replied for the Rebels at 16:02 and the clubs were deadlocked after 20 minutes.
The ‘Canes shot back in front at 5:32 of the second period on a goal by Zachary Cox.
Josh Tarzwell converted a power-play feed from Chris Douglas to pull Red Deer even seven minutes later and Alex Morozoff, again on the power play, gave the Rebels their first lead of the evening at 3:11 of the third period.
Sutter doled out high marks to Tarzwell and 16-year-old rookie defenceman Chase Leslie.
“And some of our 17-year-olds were better tonight than they were in the first two (preseason) games, just with their positional play and stuff like that,” said Sutter.
Ethan Anders started in the Red Deer net and stopped 13 of the 15 shots he faced in 30 minutes and 13 seconds of playing time. Byron Fancy blocked 20 of 22 shots the rest of the way.
Lethbridge netminder Reece Klassen made 33 saves.
Douglas (0-2) and Morozoff (1-1) each recorded two points for Red Deer.
Red Deer was two-for-seven on the power play; the ‘Canes were zero-for-two.
The players from both teams were housed at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright for two nights prior to the game and participated in various army exercises and drills.
The Rebels will close out their exhibition season next Friday and Saturday versus the Edmonton Oil Kings in St. Albert and against the Medicine Hat Tigers at the Enmax Centrium.
The Rebels will open their regular season schedule Sept. 21 in Edmonton and will host the Oil Kings in their home-opener the following night.