Rebels 4 Wheat Kings 3
For the second game in succession the Red Deer Rebels were singing the third-period blues Saturday night at the Centrium.
This time, though, the tune had a happy ending.
The Rebels carved out 4-0 lead, then watched the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings dominate the third period before hanging on for a 4-3 WHL win witnessed by 3,794 fans.
Red Deer blew a 3-1 lead over the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday en route to a 4-3 shootout loss. Fortunately, they were able to weather the storm, although just barely, 24 hours later.
“It was kind of similar to last night, the only thing is we had a good enough lead going into the third,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
“We actually played pretty well as far as certain things, but again we started taking penalties and that took the momentum away from us.”
Up by four goals, the Rebels were assessed all three infractions called in the second period and were able to kill two. The visitors cashed in on the third penalty as Ben McCartney corralled a loose puck in tight and slipped it past Red Deer netminder Byron Fancy.
The goal, with 2:28 remaining in the period, gave Brandon life, and after the clubs played pretty much even up early in the third, the Wheat Kings took over.
Cole Reinhardt narrowed the deficit to two during a Brandon power play when he worked his way in front, out-waited Fancy and tucked it in the far side of the net with nine minutes left.
The Rebels had an excellent opportunity to basically seal the deal shortly after, but came up empty on a two-man advantage and it was game on.
“You sit in the box, they score one to make it 4-2 and then we have the five-on-three and don’t capitalize on it,” said Sutter.
With 1:17 left on the clock, Reinhardt slipped through the Red Deer defence and while falling forward chipped the puck under Fancy.
“They get an unfortunate goal against us and it’s a tight game,” said Sutter. “We’ve been in a lot of those going into the last minute and a half this year and sometimes came out on the wrong side.
“But we found a way to win tonight and we’ll take the points. Every point is big.”
The Rebels scraped out the win despite being outshot 21-9 in the final 20 minutes. Only a big-time save by Fancy on Ridly Greig in the dying seconds preserved the win.
“We need those saves,” said Sutter. “A couple of goals I’m sure he wishes he could have back, but he made the big saves down the stretch when we needed them.
“But again we have to continue to work on that as far as our third periods. It was almost an identical game to last night. We played well for two periods and in the third we were fine for the first seven or eight minutes and then we started retreating too much.”
The Rebels roared out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes on goals by Arshdeep Bains, Dawson Barteaux and Ethan Rowland.
Bains redirected a point shot by Christoffer Sedoff past Brandon goalie Jiri Patera, Barteaux connected on a power play with a point shot that trickled over the line after being partially stopped, and Rowland beat Patera five-hole with a backhand from just outside the paint.
Josh Tarzwell upped the count to 4-0 four minutes into the second period when, from the edge of the crease, he cleaned up a wrap-around attempt by Jayden Grubbe.
The line of Bains, Ben King and Chris Douglas drove play through much of the first two periods. Bains had a goal and assist and King picked up a pair of helpers to give him four points in four games since being acquired from Swift Current last week.
“That line has been really good since we put them together in P.A. (in a 3-2 win last Saturday),” said Sutter. “They all have skill sets and they’re smart players with size.
“Kinger is really good defensively, really good down low, and he understands the game real well for a 17-year-old player. It’s a great fit for both Dougy and Bainsy to have a centerman like that.”
Bains, in his third season with the Rebels, said the trio have already found chemistry.
“We all just complement each other and work well together,” he said. “There’s no selfishness. We love to play together and it’s been good so far.”
The Rebels return to action Wednesday when they host the Prince Albert Raiders.
Notable: The Rebels swept the three-star selections, with Bains getting first star, King second and Fancy third. “He’s been working his ass off and showing they he’s going to be a player in this league. He’s been playing great,” Bains said of the Rebels netminder . . . Fancy finished with 37 saves while posting his second win of the season. Patera made 21 stops . . . The Wheat Kings were two-for-five on the power play, the Rebels one-for-four.