Rebels 6 Raiders 5 (OT)
PRINCE ALBERT — The Red Deer Rebels didn’t turn in a solid 60-minute performance Tuesday night, but 42 minutes and change was good enough.
The Rebels were just fine in the opening period, struggled through the second frame then came back to life in the third period and overtime to post a 6-5 WHL win — on a goal by Arshdeep Bains — over the Prince Albert Raiders before 2,273 fans at the Art Hauser Centre.
“Our second period wasn’t great, we had too many turnovers. But I thought we settled down and had a much better third,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
The Raiders struck first when defenceman Jeremy Masella broke in from the point, moved into the right circle and beat Rebels goalie Ethan Anders with a backhand.
The Rebels, though, pulled even in the final minute of the opening frame as Finnish blueliner Christoffer Sedoff skated into the high slot and ripped a shot past Raiders netminder Keegan Karki, just acquired from the Everett Silvertips.
Spencer Moe restored the Raiders’ lead 4:19 into the second period, converting a centering pass from Justin Nachbaur, but Chris Douglas replied for the Rebels at 7:40.
Evan Herman made it 3-2 for the Raiders four minutes later and the Raiders held onto their lead until Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell was credited with a goal 56 seconds into the final frame, redirecting a volley from Ethan Sakowich.
“It was a good goal for us early in the third. It gave us some momentum and some life to battle back and tie it up,” said Sutter. “We got a break on our next two goals but we played hard and that’s the most important part.”
Bains pushed the Rebels in front at 11:33 of the third, skating out of the right circle, looking off and then beating Karki five-hole with a surprise shot.
Sakowich then made it a 5-3 contest in Red Deer’s favour with a shot from the side boards that somehow eluded Karki.
The Raiders, however, drew even with a goal from Ilya Usau at 14:14 and a power play marker from Nachbaur two minutes later.
Bains, with his 15th of the season, potted the OT winner when he skated wide to the right side, cut in front and tucked the puck past Karki at the 2:45 mark.
“We just stayed with it,” said Sutter of his team’s ability to shrug off adversity. “We had a good response to anything they did. As the game went along we stayed with it and found a way to win.”
Nachbaur was selected as the game’s first star with a goal and two assists. Rebels forward Ben King picked up four helpers and was named second star and third star went to PA’s Landon Kosior, who was credited with two assists.
Douglas (1-1), Sakowich (1-1) and Dawson Barteaux (0-2) also had multiple-game efforts for Red Deer.
Anders made 30 saves for his sixth win of the season. Karki turned aside 18 shots.
The Rebels continue their four-game East Division trip Wednesday with a date with the Saskatoon Blades, whom they trail by seven points for the final Eastern Conference wild-card playoff berth.
“We have to stay focused on what we do. That’s the big thing with our team, with our youth. We gave to stay focused and make sure we prepare the right way,” said Sutter.
“Tonight we were able to put some young kids in situations they had never been in before because of the trade (moving overage centre Brett Davis to Lethbridge Monday). They responded pretty well.”