Third period rally in Prince Albert keeps Rebels point streak alive
By DANNY RODE
PRINCE ALBERT, SK – The Red Deer Rebels put together an impressive month of January, recording points in all 11 starts (9-0-1-1).
Though the month didn’t exactly end how they may have wanted, losing 4-3 in a shootout to the Prince Albert Raiders before 2,207 fans at the Art Hauser Centre Wednesday, the Rebels were deserving as they stretched their point streak to 13 games overall (10-0-1-2).
“We did a great job in all areas of the game tonight,” said Rebels head coach Derrick Walser. “We made a couple mistakes on the kill which they buried, but once we got out of the box and played five-on-five the guys did a good job of sticking to the game plan and generated a lot of chances.”
The Raiders jumped into a 2-0 first-period lead as Niall Crocker connected on the power play at 3:23 and Aiden Oiring notched his 12th of the season at 10:55 after grabbing a loose puck in the slot and beating Rhett Stoesser, who was playing his first game since Jan. 5 and on his 19th birthday.
The Rebels got back in the game with a power play marker of their own, when Kai Uchacz notched his 29th goal of the season and 10th power play marker, at 18:10.
The Red Deer squad dominated play when they were even-up and held a 15-9 edge in shots in the opening stanza.
They outshot the Raiders 18-15 in the second period, but came out of the middle frame trailing 3-1 when Krzysztof Macias scored on the power play just as Jhett Larson stepped back onto the ice.
The Rebels continued their onslaught of the Raiders netminder Max Hildebrand in the third period, holding a 10-3 edge in shots in the final frame.
“We threw everything at him except the kitchen sink,” said Walser.
“When you’re down by two you don’t want to open up the game, but do want to find a way to get one in the first half of the period.”
Frantisek Formanek did just that, snapping a shot between Hildebrand’s legs from the left faceoff dot at 9:43.
The Rebels had their chances to tie it, but either Hildebrand or the post got in the way. In fact Hunter Mayo came within an inch of tying it when his shot hit the crossbar and post.
Mayo and Mats Lindgren then combined for a great defensive play with Stoesser on the bench for an extra attacker. Seconds later Kalan Lind converted a Carson Latimer pass to tie the score with 34 seconds remaining.
“Mayo and Mats did a great job backchecking on the play …they never quit and we turned it around, went down and scored,” said Walser. “It was a great second effort, but that’s our group, we compete to the very end.”
Neither team showed much in the five-minute overtime with Red Deer holding a 3-1 edge in shots. The shootout saw Oiring and Sloan Stanick beat Stoesser on the first two shots with Uchacz connecting for the Rebels. Stoesser stopped Macias but when Samuel Drancak had the puck slip by the post it gave the Raiders the victory.
The game was the first in a five-game-in-seven-day road trip for the Red Deer crew..
“We’re always happy to get points when you can,” said Walser. “We came in well rested and they were well rested and it made for a good hockey game.
“Now we travel to Brandon, have a day off and get ready for Friday. It’s a new month and a fresh start.”
ICE CHIPS – The Rebels ran their record to 27-13-1-5 for 60 points, two behind Medicine Hat for first in the Central Division and with a game in hand … Rebels face Moose Jaw Saturday and Regina Sunday afternoon and finish the road trip in Swift Current Tuesday … They return home Feb. 9 against Moose Jaw … Macias, with a goal and one helper, was named the game’s first star with Hildebrand second star with 43 saves and Uchacz, with a goal and two assists, third star … Stoesser made 22 saves … It was the eighth shootout of the season for the Rebels, who are now 3-5 while Prince Albert is 5-3.
Photo Credit: Mark Peterson/Prince Albert Raiders