Rebels come home down 0-2 to Tigers

How many overtime games are decided by an unusual goal? Most, it seems, and Trevor Cox’s extra-time winner Sunday at the old Arena was no exception. The diminutive forward worked out of the corner and wired a sharp-angle shot that deflected in off the pad of Red Deer Rebels netminder Rylan Toth at 10:05 of overtime to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 1-0 win and a 2-0 lead in a WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final.

MEDICINE HAT – How many overtime games are decided by an unusual goal?

Most, it seems, and Trevor Cox’s extra-time winner Sunday at the old Arena was no exception.

The diminutive forward worked out of the corner and wired a sharp-angle shot that deflected in off the pad of Red Deer Rebels netminder Rylan Toth at 10:05 of overtime to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 1-0 win and a 2-0 lead in a WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final.

The Tigers prevailed 2-1 in the opening game of the series Saturday night. The third and fourth games of the best-of-seven set will be played Wednesday and Thursday at the Enmax Centrium.

The goal spoiled a splendid performance by Toth, who made 36 saves, including nine in overtime, and came just seconds after the game nearly ended in Red Deer’s favour as a Tigers player dug a loose puck out of the Medicine Hat crease.

“Stants (Tigers defenceman Ty Stanton) head-manned the puck after a pretty crazy scramble in front of our net,” said Cox. “I saw them kind of changing so I dropped it back to (Cole) Sanford.

“He gave it back to me and I just threw it at the net and it found its way in. After that I just kind of blacked out.”

The Tigers carried the play in overtime, outshooting their guests 10-6 in the process. Toth kept the game in doubt by robbing Chad Butcher point blank and Sanford rang a shot off the crossbar.

Still, the game was there for the taking for the Rebels, but the Tigers got the break to end the lengthy, tight-checking contest.

“That’s a tough goal against (Toth),” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “But that being said, both goalies were good tonight.

“They got the break, but again, it’s tough to win if you don’t score any goals, either. We scored one goal in two games.”

Despite Sutter’s line juggling, the Rebels couldn’t mount sustained attacks and Tigers netminder Marek Langhamer shut the door when the visitors did threaten.

His first-period glove save on Wyatt Johnson from the edge of the crease was pure thievery. Langhamer turned aside 27 shots to post the shutout and was named first star of the game, with Toth and Cox selected as the second and third stars.

“Some of our offensive guys have got to be better for us,” said Sutter. “We need more from Bleacks (Conner Bleackley), more from Sheener (Riley Sheen) and more from (Connor) Gay.

“Guys who we expect to score goals for us, we need more from even though they have to play the right way. They have to do more in the offensive zone for us.”

The Rebels couldn’t took advantage of three power plays, while the Tigers were zero-for-five with a man advantage and enjoyed a four-minute power play when Bleackley was assessed a double minor for spearing in the third period.

The Rebels killed it off in impressive fashion, holding the Tigers to two shots, and then killed a later hooking infraction to defenceman Kayle Doetzel.

“Defensively, we’ve been good,” said Sutter. “Both games have been head-to-head, with shots on goal very similar.

“You never read anything into shots on goal in this building. It’s not often the visiting team is going to have more shots than the home team, that’s the way it works here.

“But we’re right there. We just have to focus in on Game 3 now. We’re going back to our building and we need to have that emotion of our building working for us.”

Both games were intense, heated affairs, with the Rebels having the advantage in the physical department.

“Red Deer is a really defensive club and they play us hard every game,” said Cox. “We knew that coming into this series and we just have to stay patient.

“If we play like we did in overtime tonight the rest of the series, I’m confident we can wrap this thing up.”

Rebels forward Presten Kopeck is confident his club will draw even at home.

“Bounces go whatever way and tonight wasn’t our night,” he said.

“We have to regroup. We have two games at home to get right back on track.”

As long as the Rebels can find their scoring touch, that is.

“That’s the biggest thing,” said Kopeck. “Their goalie is standing on his head right now and we have to find a way to get past him. As soon as it happens I think the floodgates will open.”

Kopeck praised Toth and felt bad for his teammate.

“He’s the one who kept us in the game. He was making good stops all game,” said Kopeck.

“It was an unfortunate bounce at the end but I’m not going to blame that on Tother whatsoever.

“We have to figure out a way to score and we have to help him out back there too.”

• The Tigers scored once in each of the first two periods Saturday, then survived a strong Rebels push in the final frame to hang on for the victory.

Kyle Beckcr connected in the opening period and Sanford scored a power-play marker in the second that was the eventual winner.

Grayson Pawlenchuk pulled Red Deer to within one at 11:19 of the third period but the visitors couldn’t find the equalizer despite holding a 16-7 advantage in shots over the final 20 minutes.

“Our second period hurt us,” said Sutter. “We got on our heels and they dictated the play in the second.

“But we were better in the third and we had a good first period.”

Both Toth and Langhamer finished with 31 saves.

Just Posted

Two people die in Highway 11 crash

RCMP continue to investigate

Bank of Canada deputy governor Timothy Lane says Canadian economy resilient

OTTAWA — The Canadian economy remains resilient despite the global uncertainty caused… Continue reading

The Second Cup agrees to buy Ottawa chain Bridgehead Coffee for $9.5 million

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — The Second Cup Ltd. says it has agreed to… Continue reading

Telus to buy German call centre firm Competence Call Center for $1.3 billion

VANCOUVER — Telus Corp. is buying a German call centre company through… Continue reading

High court to decide if it will hear Alberta man’s appeal in seniors slayings

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada is to release a decision… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday The Central Alberta Council on Aging will hold its Christmas General… Continue reading

NASCAR goes back to its roots with a huge Nashville blowout

NASHVILLE — Kyle Busch toted his championship trophy all over Nashville for… Continue reading

Alphonso Davies, Ashley Lawrence named Canada Soccer Players of the Month

TORONTO — Alphonso Davies and Ashley Lawrence have been named Canada Soccer… Continue reading

Much anticipated Star Wars-based ride debuts at Disney World

ORLANDO, Fla. — The resistance is rising. “Rise of the Resistance,” the… Continue reading

Alex Trebek among special 2020 Canadian Academy award recipients

TORONTO — Alex Trebek, David Suzuki, Tina Keeper and Daniel Levy will… Continue reading

Ennis records three points to help lift Senators over Oilers

Senators 5 Oilers 2 EDMONTON — Tyler Ennis had a goal and… Continue reading

Alberta Finance Minister voted MLA of the year in poll of political peers

EDMONTON — Finance Minister Travis Toews come on down, you’ve been voted… Continue reading

Quebec police seek potential victims of former cop, coach accused of sex crimes

LONGUEUIL, Que. — A former Montreal police officer and minor hockey coach… Continue reading

Most Read