Based on the first five minutes of the game, it wasn’t looking like the Red Deer Rebels’ night.
But, a seven minute penalty kill, a sprawling glove save to stop a breakaway — preserving what was then a one goal lead — and four goals in six minutes to close out the second period turned the night around.
After working out some kinks early, the Rebels took hold of the game and cruised to a 6-2 win over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.
Leading the way was Adam Helewka with two goals and an assist. His goals, included the tying and go-ahead goal, which came within three minutes of each other in the second period.
“We faced a bit of adversity there going down two, but we bounced back really well and took over the game,” said Helewka.
Helewka found the net twice starting with the tying goal at 13:40 of the second period with a wrap around goal that caught Raiders goalie Ian Scott out of position.
It wasn’t long before Helewka scored his second goal of the night after a giveaway at the Raiders blue line. With no one in front of him and a clear path to the goalie, he had time to get the puck to his backhand and put it over Scott’s shoulder and into the net. The goal put the Rebels ahead for the first time in the game.
Two minutes later Rebels goalie Trevor Martin kept his team on top. He stopped a break away with a quick glove hand, holding it in front of the goal-line as he was pushed back into the net.
“He made some big saves,” said Rebels head coach/GM Brent Sutter. “In the second period he stopped a breakaway, at the time the score was 3-2, and we capitalized right after.”
Before Helewka could put them ahead, the team had to rally and kill seven minutes of penalties.
Hayden Fleury was given a five minute major and an early exit from the game after a check from behind at 4:51 of the second. After shattering his stick at the point on a power play, Jordan Tkatch had a clear path to the Rebels net from the Raiders side of the red line. With Fleury in pursuit, he knocked Tkatch from behind, sending the Raiders forward headlong into Martin. Martin stayed in the game, but Tkatch was done for the night.
“We take a two minute minor near the end of it (five minute penalty) and all of a sudden we’re down on a five-on-three,” said Sutter. “We made a big kill right after that. It was a turning point in the game.”
Just seconds away from killing off the five minute major, Colton Bobyk drew a high sticking minor. The Rebels special teams stood tall and killed the entire extended Raiders powerplay.
With less than 50 seconds to go in the second period three Rebels bunched up at the blue line walked into the zone with Michael Spacek carrying the puck. He had a clear path into the slot and fired a wrist shot over Scott’s blocker.
Then, 25 seconds later, Brandon Hagel knocked a pass in, putting the Rebels up 5-2.
Scott was done for the night after a rough third period, surrendering five goals on 11 shots.
The Rebels got on the board early in the second period with a powerplay squeaker. Fleury’s point shot hit the post, bounced off the back of Scott and trickled across the line. After a quick review it was ruled a goal and the Rebels got back into the game.
The hole the Rebels dug for themselves started in the opening five minutes, giving up two goals early.
Tkatch opened up the scoring for the Raiders 1:28 into the first period when he deflected Loch Morrison’s point shot. It squirted through Martin’s and into the back of the net.
Luke Coleman’s wrister from the slot beat Martin glove side to jump out to an early 2-0 lead, less than five minutes into the first period.
Rebels sixth goal of the night was a defelcted pass by Grayson Pawlenchuk off of Budik’s skate and past Parenteau. That goal came with less than two minutes to play in the third period.
The Rebels now have a few days off before a crucial home and home series against the division leading Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Hurricanes trounced the Kootenay Ice 7-2, Tuesday night. The Rebels are on the road in Lethbridge on Friday night before returning home on Saturday night for a 7 p.m. faceoff at the Enmax Centrium.