Rebels 4 Pats 3 (SO)
Call it an impressive re-debut.
Cam Hausinger, in the first game of his second stint with the Red Deer Rebels, ignited a late rally that led to a 4-3 WHL shootout win for the hosts over the Regina Pats on Friday night before 3,721 fans at the Centrium.
Hausinger, who along with Brett Davis, came over from the Kootenay Ice in a trade last week, scored from a sharp angle at 11:49 of the third period to cut the Pats’ lead to 3-2.
Alex Morozoff jammed a rebound under Regina goalie Max Paddock at 17:07 to send the game to a scoreless overtime. Davis then connected in a shootout while Rebels netminder Ethan Anders denied all three shooters he faced.
Hausinger’s goal turned the tide and he was rightfully recognized as the game’s first star.
“We started buzzing after that,” he said of his ninth goal of the season. “Mo’s goal, he kind of built off it too, everybody built off it. It got a little life in the building and made it a one-goal game.
“It’s awesome, obviously one that I’ll remember. The last game I played here (in reference to his original Rebels debut during the 2016-17 season) I had two but it was a blah win, so it was special to get that one tonight.”
The 19-year-old forward beat Paddock from deep in the right circle, catching the top short-side corner of the net.
“I was going to line up on the wing side, then Sak (Ethan Sakowich) tapped me and said go line up on the D spot,” said the Alaska product. “It was a good pass by Alex (Alexeyev), I shoved off the defenceman, closed my eyes and it went in.
“I saw a little bit (of room) but really, I was just trying to get the puck on net. I wanted to get something going there and it just caught the corner.”
Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter agreed that Hausinger’s goal was a turning point.
“We needed some jump. At the mid-period timeout we just talked about getting it to the net and his line won a faceoff, got the puck wide and put it on net.
“Look at the last two goals we scored, they were just pucks at the net. One goes in and the other is a battle around the net.”
For a lengthy stretch of the third period, it didn’t appear that the Rebels would battle back from a two-goal deficit.
“But we were resilient, we stuck with our game and that led us to break them down a bit,” said Hausinger. “We started getting to the net more and got a couple goals.”
Brandon Hagel opened the scoring for the hosts with an unassisted goal late in the first period, working out of the corner, cutting wide on Paddock and slipping the puck into the low corner.
Former Rebel Austin Pratt cashed a rebound to draw the visitors even in the first minute of the second frame, and Sergei Alkhimov beat Anders through the five-hole 13 minutes later following a turnover in the Rebels end.
A lucky bounce led to the Pats’ third goal at 1:12 of the third period, as a clearing attempt was blocked by an official’s skate, the puck glanced into the open and Scott Mahovlich connected from the high slot.
The visitors entered the contest with a lowly 8-21-0-0 record but gave the Central Division leading Rebels everything they could handle.
“We certainly found a way to win,” said Sutter. “Give full marks to the Pats, they worked extremely hard, they keep the game simple.
“We went through all that today, about the team we’re playing and their work ethic and what ours needed to be. There are some things in our game that we can still simplify some.”
The Rebels directed 35 shots at Paddock and had another 15 to 20 blocked.
“The way I look at it is learn from it and do the same,” said Sutter. “We’ve been preaching all year about blocking shots and getting our guys wanting to block shots.
“They (Pats) are a team that’s going to work hard and that’s what they have to do. We still need to improve on that and we can learn from what the opposition does. We see how it frustrates us so we can do the same in our zone too.”
Anders finished with 25 saves for the Rebels, who weren’t at their best on Friday but can build on the victory heading into a Saturday date with the visiting Swift Current Broncos.
“We’ll just keep getting better, it’s a long year,” said Sutter. “We found a way to get two points tonight, we found a way to beat a team that worked extremely hard and obviously took it right to a shootout.
“Again it was another good lesson for us.”
Notable: With the win and a 6-2 loss for Lethbridge at Spokane, the Rebels stretched their Central Division lead to three points over the Hurricanes . . . The second and third stars were Pratt and Hagel . . . Red Deer was zero-for-five on the power play while the Pats were zero-for-one.