Rebels fall 3-2 in tough overtime loss to Lethbridge

The Red Deer Rebels lost to central division rival Lethbridge Hurricanes 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Hurricanes 3 Rebels 2 OT

A stretch of three minutes and 46 seconds cost the Red Deer Rebels two points on Wednesday night at the Centrium.

There is no time to sit back with a lead in the WHL and the Lethbridge Hurricanes showed why as they turned a 2-1 deficit late in the third period into a 3-2 overtime win.

Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter called a timeout with 3:30 left in the third to try and calm his group down after some frantic pressure from Lethbridge. It was all for not as seconds later, Tyler Wong was left alone at the side of the net and scored his 37th goal of the year to tie the game at two.

Just 46 seconds into overtime the Hurricanes extended their point streak to 11 straight games, when Giorgio Estephan scored his second of the night on a wrist shot from the top of the circle that slipped past the outstretched glove of Rebels goalie Lasse Petersen.

“For 53 minutes I thought we played well,” Sutter said.

“We got the lead, we sat back on our heels and we let them take it to us. They created opportunities off that and they are a good offensive team and they’re going to do that. Then you get into overtime and you can’t play that way three-on-three. You can’t have three guys backing up into our own blueline and let teams come at you with speed. That’s not how you play three-on-three hockey and that’s not how we played all year.”

Estephan completed the Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal and a fight in the first period, then an assist on the Wong game-tying goal.

The Rebels tied the game at one halfway through the second on the power play with a Jared Freadrich bomb from the point. Michael Spacek peeled the puck off the boards and fired a perfect one-time pass to the Rebels defenceman for the goal.

Spacek was the catalyst on the go-ahead goal as well, when he hooked up with Brandon Hagel for a gorgeous give-and-go that ended with Hagel scoring his 21st goal of the season. That goal gave the Rebels a 2-1 lead with 8:13 to play.

Hurricanes goalie Stuart Skinner, who had a .940 save percentage against Red Deer heading into Wednesday, continued to stymie the Rebels with 34 saves this time around. Petersen made 30 saves for the Rebels.

Alex Alexeyev was hurt last Saturday and earlier this week the Rebels announced the Moscow, Russia native would be out for the remainder of the season. Sixteen-year-old Jacob Herauf returned to the lineup for Red Deer, seeing some time at both defence and forward.

“Gave him a couple shifts up front, he hadn’t played in a long time because of the injury,” Sutter said.

“Wanted to make sure he was 100 per cent before he got back. He got clearance yesterday. With Alex being out of the lineup these young kids are going to get put in. Him and (Barteaux) are two 16-year-old D that are going to learn a lot over the next six weeks and in playoffs.”

Next up for the Rebels are back-to-back road games in Saskatchewan, with a Prince Albert on Friday and Saskatoon Saturday.

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