Rebels post much deserved OT win over Broncos
Rebels 4 Broncos 3 (OT)
The Swift Current Broncos hung around almost long enough to steal a WHL win Saturday at the Centrium.
On a night when the Red Deer Rebels controlled most of the play, Ben King scored his second goal of the game and 20th of the season at 3:23 of overtime to lift the home side to a 4-3 victory before 3,930 fans.
“I thought we stayed with it,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “We controlled a lot of the play, had the puck a lot.
“I thought we did a pretty good job. They’re not an easy team to play against, they do a really good job in their own end of swarming. They try to out-number you really quickly and try to get you in that trap area.
“But once we got our feet moving we created a lot more.”
Despite being up by just a single goal, the Rebels seemed to be in control of the contest until Hayden Ostir struck with a one-timer from the low slot to pull the Broncos even late in the third period.
“It’s a tough goal to give up, leaving a guy open in the slot. But we just had to stay with it, keep playing,” said Sutter.
The Rebels had most of the possession in overtime and got the win when King went hard to the net and tipped home a pass from Arshdeep Bains.
“In overtime we had the puck a lot, that’s what you want to do,” said Sutter. “You want to be a puck possession team in overtime and create speed. We had the right guys on the ice, guys who can skate and really move, and that’s how you want to play three-on-three.”
Josh Tarzwell also notched a pair of goals for Red Deer, his team-leading 30th and 31st of the season, and both beat Broncos netminder Isaac Poulter high to the glove side.
Tarzwell scored the only goal of the first period and the cushion held up until Broncos forward Kaleb Bulych connected from a scramble early in the middle frame.
King restored Red Deer’s lead two minutes later after Bains forced a turnover and fed his linemate, but Sergei Alkhimov replied for the visitors midway through the period, beating Rebels netminder Ethan Anders from between the blueline and the right circle.
“Look at the goals they got, some from a lack of coverage, and I think Andy would like to have the second one back,” said Sutter.
Tarzwell pushed the Rebels back in front late in the final minute of the second period, setting the stage for Ostir’s game-tying marker in the third and King’s OT winner.
“Working with Lodgey (assistant coach Erik Lodge) every day . . . it’s not necessarily about putting it in a specific spot, more just getting it on the net and that’s what I focused on,” said Tarzwell, in reference to his perfectly placed laser shots.
After giving up a handful of goals due to defensive lapses the night before in a 5-1 loss to the visiting Spokane Chiefs, the Rebels played a tighter style Saturday, although admittedly against a weaker team.
“Limiting odd-man rushes was obviously a big thing after the last few games and not taking any penalties we didn’t have to,” said Tarzwell of the keys to victory. “And the ones we did take we killed.”
The Rebels erased both Swift Current power plays in a game in which they never had a single man advantage.
“It was awesome to win again,” said Tarzwell, whose team snapped a two-game losing streak after winning four in a row. “Great job by Bainsy and King, as always, to get us through this one.”
Notable: Anders finished with 13 saves while Poulter blocked 26 shots . . . Selected as the game’s three stars were (1) Tarzwell, (2) King and (3) Ostir . . . King was honoured as the Mitchell and Jewell Rebels player of the game for the month of February prior to Friday’s contest versus Spokane . . . The Rebels head out Monday on a two-game trip with stops in Medicine Hat and Swift Current Tuesday and Wednesday.