Rebels outlast Ice in a wide-open WHL affair

Rebels 8 Ice 5

CRANBROOK — The Red Deer Rebels and Kootenay Ice hooked up in a wide-open affair Sunday afternoon with the visitors getting the last laugh at Western Financial Place.

“It was a roller coaster,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter, following his club’s 8-5 win in a WHL contest viewed by 2,094 fans.

The game started with an eruption of goals, five in the first eight minutes.

Rebels captain Reese Johnson scored his sixth of the season 71 seconds into the contest when he followed up on a play on which Ice netminder Duncan McGovern made a save on Brandon Hagel.

Johnson connected again just 1:18 later. With the Rebels on the penalty kill, Hagel hit Johnson with a perfect feed on a two-on-two break and the 20-year-old fired into a gaping net.

The Ice drew even in short order, with Brad Ginnell burying a centering pass from Peyton Krebs at 4:06 and former Rebels forward Cam Hausinger beating Red Deer goaltender Ethan Anders on a wrap-around at 4:22.

Blake Sydlowski scored his first WHL goal to restore Red Deer’s lead at 7:59, with Austin Schelleneberg and Dallon Melin assisting. Melin’s helper was his first-ever WHL point.

The Rebels took over in the middle frame, as Alex Alexeyev connected after a turnover in the Kootenay zone, Arshdeep Bains scored from the doorstep and Josh Tarzwell beat McGovern with a shot that caught the top of the net.

The third period didn’t start well for the Rebels, who were assessed three penalties in the early going and surrendered three goals as a result.

Dallas Hines scored at 2:26, Jonathan Smart sunk a shot from the point at 4:03 and Martin Bodak connected shortly after.

“Our special teams need some work,” said Sutter. “Our penalty kill is slipping but our power play hasn’t been very good either the past few weeks.”

The Rebels responded the right way after the hosts’ fifth goal, with Jeff de Wit connecting from close range after Hagel carried the puck into the Ice zone, and Johnson completing his hat trick with an empty-net marker in the final minute.

“When you score eight goals you’d better win and It’s always important to win a division game,” said Sutter.

Notable: Anders made 36 saves for his ninth win of the season for the 10-4-1-0 Rebels. McGovern stopped 18 shots at the other end . . . The Rebels return to action next Saturday with an afternoon contest versus the host Calgary Hitmen. Red Deer’s next home game is Nov. 16 against the Kelowna Rockets.

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