Rebels 4 Tigers 3 (OT)
MEDICINE HAT — Ethan Anders did everything in his power to garner a positive result for the Red Deer Rebels Saturday night.
He did enough, as it turned out.
Anders came up with a brilliant 39-save effort and was named first star of the game for a second straight night as Red Deer pulled out a 4-3 WHL overtime win over the Medicine Hat Tigers before 2,860 fans at the Canalta Centre.
Coupled with a 5-1 victory Friday over the Swift Current Broncos, the victory gave the Rebels a sweep of their mini road trip.
Anders was here, there and everywhere while backstopping the Rebels to their fourth win of the season as the visitors were outshot 42-21.
“We said at the start of the year that our goaltending has to be good with a young team like this,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
“There are going to be mistakes made just from a lack of experience, so we need our goaltender to be our backbone and Andy was outstanding tonight.
“He’s a 19-year-old goalie and an older goalie has to provide that for you.”
The Rebels took full advantage of Anders’ highly impressive performance when Chris Douglas chipped a puck past Tigers netminder Mads Sogaard a mere 38 seconds into overtime.
Trailing 3-2 after 40 minutes, the Tigers poured on the pressure in the third period and finally pulled even when James Hamblin scored on a penalty shot that was called when Rebels rearguard Mason Ward placed his hand on the puck in the Red Deer crease.
“For two periods I thought we played pretty well and in the third period we got back on our heels and tried to sit on it (one-goal lead),” said Sutter. “We didn’t control the play a lot in the third but our goalie was good.
“It’s another good lesson for the kids. They have to stay on the hunt.”
Red Deer never trailed in the contest, opening the scoring 15:22 into the contest when Jayden Grubbe rushed down the right side and from behind the Tigers net passed out front to Jaxsen Wiebe, who promptly notched his first-ever WHL goal.
Trevor Longo pulled the Tigers even early in the second, but Brett Davis responded for the Rebels just over two minutes later, beating Sogaard through traffic on a power play.
Ryan Chyzowski made it 2-2 midway through the period when he stole the puck from Rebels forward Cam Hausinger at the Tigers blueline and skated in alone.
With the visitors on the power play, defenceman Ethan Sakowich restored Red Deer’s lead in the final minute of the period with a power-play shot from the top of the left circle.
That the Rebels were able to hold the Tigers to one goal in the third period was mostly due to Anders, who came up with a pair of outstanding saves with Medicine Hat enjoying a lengthy two-man advantage.
The Rebels continued their more than respectable special teams play by going two-for-five on the power play and five-for-five on the penalty kill.
“Our goalie played really well and our power play got us a couple goals,” said Sutter, whose 4-3-0-0 squad will host the Portland Winter Hawks Friday.
Sogaard made 17 saves for the Tigers.