Red Deer 4 Saskatoon 3
The Red Deer Rebels were back in attack mode Saturday at the Credit Union Centre and this time they found a way to find the back of the opposition net.
“It was a real good hockey game,” said Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin, whose team posted a 4-3 shootout win over the Saskatoon Blades one night after directing 43 shots at Prince Albert Raiders netminder Cole Holowenko in a 4-0 Western Hockey League loss.
“The difference in this game is that we scored enough goals to win,” continued Wallin. “We generated a number of scoring opportunities again. We’ve had over 40 shots on goal the last two nights.”
Brent Benson staked the Blades to an early lead Saturday, but the Rebels rebounded with goals from John Persson — his 20th of the season — and Brooks Maxwell at 4:16 and 11:12 of the second period.
Daulton Thrower pulled the Blades even at 13:50 of the second stanza and Jake Trask potted his 18th of the season — on the power play — at 2:45 of the third period to put the home side up 3-2.
But the Rebels didn’t back off, and in fact fired 19 shots at Saskatoon goaltender Andrey Makarov in the final 20 minutes of regulation time and finally got the equalizer courtesy of Persson with 1:15 remaining.
“I liked the resilience we showed,” said Wallin.
“We went into the third tied 2-2 and they scored an early goal on a tough break on the penalty kill. But we just continued to battle.
“Makarov made some unbelievable saves, he was outstanding in the third period. It didn’t feel like we were going to get a goal, but we kept persisting and we found a way to get the late goal with our goalie out (in favour of an extra attacker).”
Red Deer netminder Deven Dubyk stopped Trask, Josh Nicholls and Matej Stransky in the shootout that followed a scoreless five-minute overtime frame, while Makarov foiled Charles Inglis and Persson before yielding a goal to Alex Petrovic. Dubyk blocked 32 shots through 65 minutes and Makarov made 44 saves.
“It was a character win, for sure,” said Wallin, whose team remains 10 points removed from a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
The team stayed in Saskatoon Saturday night and bused to Regina Sunday afternoon. The Rebels will conclude their four-game East Division trip with Tuesday and Wednesday engagements with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina Pats.
The Rebels will return home following Wednesday’s game to prepare for home-ice dates with the Swift Current Broncos and Saskatoon Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.