The final game of the season between these two rivals carried significance for both teams. The Rebels of course were chasing down the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Blades were looking for points in their chase for fourth place and home ice advantage in the playoffs.
The Rebels opened up the first period with a couple of turns on the powerplay but could not convert on either. Shortly after, the Blades would get a powerplay of their own and they would take advantage. Brett Stovin beat Bolton Pouliot for his 10th of the season from Jake Trask and Matej Stransky. 1-0 for Saskatoon.
The Rebels found themselves in even more penalty trouble after giving up the opening goal, including an extended 5-on-3 man advantage for the Blades. But the home side stood tall and killed off their penalties. They nearly scored a shorthanded goal when Charles Inglis was awarded a penalty shot (after being fouled by Stransky) but Blades goalie Andrej Makarov came up with a big save. The first period would end with Saskatoon leading 1-0 on the scoreboard and 14-7 on the shot clock.
Another penalty in early in the second period led to another Rebels penalty kill situation. It also led to the Rebels first goal of the game as Mathew Dumba led a 2-on-1 rush, sliding a pretty pass over to Chad Robinson who fanned on his shot but still beat Makarov for his 8th goal of the season. Game tied 1-1.
Red Deer had plenty of chances to take the lead in the game before the end of the period but could not cash in on a pair of 5-on-3 powerplays. The Blades held in for a 1-1 tie through forty minutes. Rebels out shot Saskatoon 16-6 in the period.
The Rebels found themselves with even more powerplay time to start the third period. Finally, Adam Kambeitz gave the Rebels a 2-1 lead when he banged home a rebound from a sharp angled shot from Cody Thiel. Charles Inglis also earned an assist on the powerplay goal at 4:24 of the period.
That lead would hold until late in the period when John Persson would give the Rebels some much needed insurance. His 22nd of the season, set up by Kambeitz and Marc Mackenzie, gave the home side a 3-1 lead with 3:32 remaining. Red Deer goes on to win by a score of 4-1. Rebels out shot Saskatoon 16-4 in the third period, 39-24 for the game.
Molson Cup Three Stars…
1. Kambeitz RD
2. Makarov SB
3. Dumba RD
Next up for the Rebels… a visit from the Calgary Hitmen this Tuesday, March 6th. Game time at the Enmax Centrium 7:30pm. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.