Down 3-0 after the first period, the Red Deer Rebels came back to beat the Kamloops Blazers 5-4 last night for their first home win of the season.
The win at the Enmax Centre snaps a two-game losing streak.
“They played hard,” said head coach Brent Sutter. “This is one thing this group is going to do. They’re not going to sit back and that’s the way I want to see them play. It’s about making sure we have that structure like we did in those last two periods.”
Riley Lamb replaced starter Trevor Martin to start the second period, and the switch seemed work.
“Our defence was a lot better. I saw a lot of the pucks that came at me and our defence blocked a lot shots for me as well. Our offence fed off the defence and got things going,” said Lamb.
The Blazers jumped out to an early lead with two quick goals by Deven Sideroff and finished the first period with a 3-0 lead on a late goal by Matt Ravel.
Not the start the Rebels were looking for, but Sutter wasn’t ready to blame his goalie.
“How do you fault him for any goals? You can’t when they get opportunities like they did. I was looking for a change and looking for something to energize the group and get us refocused on what we have to do,” said Sutter.
Midway through the second period, Austin Pratt finally gave the crowd something to cheer about, scoring his first two goals of the season in the span of 41 seconds.
The Rebels weren’t done. Down 3-2 late in the period, rookie Akash Bains tied it up with a rocket from inside the face-off circle, beating Blazers goalie Connor Ingram glove side.
Brandon Hagel came up big on the penalty kill burying a 2-on-0 breakaway pass by Jeff de Wit for his first goal of the season, giving the Rebels their first lead.
Josh Mahura scored the eventual game winner with just under four minutes later.
The Blazers made it interesting with a late goal by Rudolfs Balcers to make it 5-4, but Lamb shut the door giving the Rebels the win.
“Lamber played great. You look at a couple of saves he made early in the second and kept the game 3-0 to allow us to claw away and pick a way at it. He played very well,” said Sutter.
The Rebels host the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday at 7 p.m.
— Jonathan Guignard, Advocate staff