The Red Deer Rebels embrace rookie goalie Ethan Anders who made 28 saves in just his second playoff start on Wednesday night against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Anders brings some stability to Rebels’ net in Game 4

28-save performance helped Red Deer extend the series

The Red Deer Rebels were desperate for a strong performance in net Wednesday with their playoff lives on the line.

In game 4 on home ice, and a sweep by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the best-of-seven series looming, Red Deer turned rookie Ethan Anders.

There was nothing especially spectacular about the 28-save performance from the 17-year-old Regina, Sask., native in just his second career playoff start, but it was steady.

His first try in the playoffs didn’t exactly go as planned. Anders lasted just 13 minutes and three seconds in Game 2 of the series and allowed three goals on nine shots. He said some advice from the head coach helped ease his mind at home in Game 4.

“First playoff start in Lethbridge, so I was a little nervous,” Anders recalled.

“But before the game (Wednesday) Brent (Sutter) just said go out there and play. I had more of a go out there and have some fun and kind of play mindset. I think that worked out for the better.”

There were probably some nerves as well for Anders after the first Hurricanes’ goal on Wednesday. The sharp angle shot beat him along the ice with just 40 seconds left in the opening frame.

“If something doesn’t go exactly the way you want it to, you can’t get down about it, just have to stick with your focus – keep yourself in the game and go and make your next save and he did that,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said post-game Wednesday.

Particularly in the third period, when the game was on the line and the Rebels were ahead, Anders made a number of key saves and finished the final 20 minutes with 12 stops.

One of those saves even turned into a first for Anders.

After he kicked aside a shot shorthanded, the pick jumped out of the zone and onto Mason McCarty’s stick. McCarty quickly fired a pass to Alex Alexeyev he broke free on a breakaway and notched his first goal of the playoffs. The goal meant Anders registered his first career playoff point.

“I didn’t think I was going to get an assist. When I heard it, I said you know what, I’ll take it,” Anders said.

The six-foot, 185-pound first-year netminder was also important in helping the Rebels stymie the Hurricanes power play.

In each of the first three games of the series, Lethbridge scored three goals per game on the man advantage. The old hockey adage always goes that your best penalty killer needs to be your goalie, and Anders was happy to shoulder the load for the club in Game 4.

“Last couple games our special teams weren’t there, their power play was really good. I think we held them back a bit,” he said, after the Rebels didn’t allow a power-play goal in Game 4.

“(Saves) on the PK will help get some momentum going back on the other side, it was key.”

Not only did the play loose mindset work better for the Rebels netminder, it also was infectious through the rest of the lineup. He said it was a pivotal moment in their approach to Game 4 and one he hopes they can find again in Game 5.

“There was a lot on the line, but it was a there’s nothing to lose kind of thing. Can’t save it for anything because if we lose we go home. We went out there and gave it our all,” Anders said.

Have to do the same thing as (Wednesday). We have to go out there and play heard and special teams are going to be key again. I think if we’re good on specialty teams, we’ll be able to get another win.”

Game 5 is Saturday in Lethbridge and if necessary, Game 6 will be Sunday at the Centrium.



Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Red Deer woman lives 102 years with humour, ‘gentle strength’ — and porridge

Minnie Deibert was surrounded by family and friends at her birthday party Sunday

Boy escapes serious injury after falling from third-storey window

SURREY, B.C. — A little boy is very lucky to have escaped… Continue reading

Harmonic singing for young women will be taught at a fall workshop in Red Deer

The Hearts of Harmony Chorus is presenting the Nov. 16 session

‘Crying out for help:’ Calgary radicalization program evolves to help others

CALGARY — The soft-spoken young man wasn’t being recruited by neo-Nazis or… Continue reading

Victoria pledges to plant 5,000 trees as part of United Nations challenge

Victoria is promising to plant 5,000 trees on public and private land… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Liberals pitch middle-class savings as second full week of campaign beckons

OTTAWA — The Liberals tried to turn the page on Justin Trudeau’s… Continue reading

Democrats blast latest Trump crisis. But what will they do?

WASHINGTON — A whistleblower’s complaint over President Donald Trump’s interactions with a… Continue reading

Face transplant recipient’s donor face now failing

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A woman who was severely burned in a domestic… Continue reading

Charity boat with 182 migrants waits to dock in Europe

A non-profit-run ship carrying 182 migrants rescued on the Mediterranean Sea sailed… Continue reading

Singh-Trudeau meeting will be private, say Liberals, but no time set yet

OTTAWA — The Liberal Party pledged Saturday to keep private the details… Continue reading

Glen Assoun calls for reform in how Ottawa considers cases of wrongful conviction

HALIFAX — Tethered to an ankle monitor and alone in a British… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Saturday nights $9 million Lotto 649 jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $9 million jackpot… Continue reading

Most Read