Rebels continually battle back, beat Raiders in overtime
Rebels 4 Raiders 3 (OT)
PRINCE ALBERT — The Red Deer Rebels were copycats Tuesday, until the game was absolutely on the line.
The Rebels overcame a trio of one-goal deficits and then got an overtime marker off the stick of Kristian Reichel to record a 4-3 WHL win over the Prince Albert Raiders before 2,056 fans at the Art Hauser Centre.
“We had some response tonight,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter of his club’s ability to continually reply to a Raiders goal.
“We did a lot of good things here. Our goalie was good, Lamber (Riley Lamb) played well and made some good saves.
“We worked hard, we battled and competed. We also got better on the offensive side and created more (scoring) chances as the game went on.”
Following a scoreless opening frame in which the Rebels were outshot 11-5, the clubs combined for four goals in just over four minutes in the second period.
Justin Nachbaur connected for the hosts midway through the frame, spinning and firing from the high slot directly off a faceoff in the Red Deer zone.
Mason McCarty got that one back for the Rebels 57 seconds later, skating across the low slot and finding the top of the net.
Curtis Miske restored the Raiders’ lead at 11:37, cashing a rebound from the left circle, and rookie Alex Morozoff replied for the Rebels just over two minutes later when he was sprung into the clear by Brandon Hagel and beat netminder Ian Scott from his off wing.
Red Deer appeared to have a go-ahead goal later in the period on a backhand by Reichel, but it was waved off due to goaltender interference.
That set up a third period in which the Raiders took a 3-2 lead at 2:27 on an Eric Pearce goal that was the end result of a two-on-one break down low.
The Rebels, though, drew even once again when Reichel took advantage of a mistake by Scott and scored at 7:43. The netminder stopped a long shot and while attempting to pass the puck to his defenceman, instead put it directly on to Reichel’s stick and the Czech forward slipped it home.
Reichel, a right-hand shot, ended the contest at 2:37 of overtime when he broke down the left side and beat Scott to the far corner.
The game was the fourth in succession the rebuilding Rebels have managed at least a single point, securing seven of eight points during that span.
“The young kids are playing better and they’re getting the chance to play in different situations,” said Sutter, who’s seen plenty of positive signs in recent outings.
“Our veterans have also been better, and that’s a huge thing for us. Pawly (captain Grayson Pawlenchuk) is playing better now. Not that he hasn’t been consistent all year, but he’s getting some offence going now.
“Reichs (Reichel) has been better the last few games. He had a slow start after coming back from the world juniors. And now Hagel is starting to get his legs going after being out for awhile.
“Our defencemen have been better too. They’ve have kept the game simple.”
The Rebels continue their four-game road trip Wednesday versus the Saskatoon Blades.
Notable: Lamb turned aside 25 shots to record his second win of the season. Included among his stops were a pair of first-period glove stabs on Brett Leason and defenceman Vojtech Budik, and a third-period save on Cole Fonstad, who skated in along following a turnover in the Red Deer end. Scott made 19 saves in a losing cause. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect made a sizzling pad save on Pawlenchuk in the third period and stopped Mason McCarty on a short break in overtime . . . Selected as the game’s three stars were (1) Leason, (2) Reichel, who also picked up an assist, and (3) Budik . . . Hagel, along with rearguard Dawson Barteaux, assisted on the winning goal and also drew a helper on Morozoff’s marker . . . Forward Zak Smith appeared in his third game with the Rebels after being recalled from the Neepawa Natives of the MJHL. Smith will remain with the team through the rest of the trip, which also includes stops in Moose Jaw and Brandon Friday and Saturday . . . Rebels defenceman Alex Alexeyev will likely return to the team within the next week. Alexeyev, who flew to his home country of Russia last week following the sudden passing of his mother, is waiting to be cleared for a travel visa . . . Ethan Anders is the WHL Eastern Conference goaltender of the week. The Rebels rookie helped his club take five of six points in a trio of games, posting a 1.62 goals-against average while stopping 119 of 124 shots for a .960 save percentage. The 17-year-old boosted his season numbers to 3.05 and .907.