Brandon Hagel went into beast mode against the Regina Pats.
The Rebels veteran 20-year-old forward finished off a hat trick in the third and also had two assists for a five-point night in the dominant 9-4 victory at the Brandt Centre in Regina.
With the win, the Rebels finished their eastern road swing 3-0 and improved to 25-13-2-1 on the year, but needed every bit of their leadership group to push them over the finish line.
Red Deer scored five goals in the first 30 minutes and led 5–1 midway through the second. They scored those goals on just 15 shots through the first two periods and had a 5-2 lead. Still, they let Regina back in the game just 82 seconds into the third.
“I think we were buzzing, we had zone time and showcased our speed off the rush and our courage to take pucks to the net,” said Rebels assistant coach Brad Flynn said.
“To go to the net and score goals. We tried to slow the game down and we got a bit soft. Can’t score from you’re own end and we defended too much. That’s where it was a teeter-totter game.”
That was until Hagel stepped up, notching his second of the night to extend the Rebels advantage to 6-3, four minutes into the third period.
“He’s an elite player and a high character guy who leads by example. He took it over and he was exceptional,” said Flynn.
“Good leaders step up when maybe the team isn’t as strong as it could be. That being said, we just played three in four nights on the road. Obviously, we’re happy about it, Hags stepped up at key times for us.”
Hagel scored his hat trick tally at 14:03 of the final frame before both Zak Smith and Oleg Zaytsev added late goals for Red Deer.
The Rebels finished the night with nine goals on 28 shots and also scored twice on four power play opportunities. Both Brett Davis and Josh Tarzwell had a goal and an assist in the win, while Alex Alexeyev and Dawson Barteaux had two assists each.
Jeff de Wit scored his 22nd goal of the year in the first and had an assist and Reese Johnson also added a goal in the opening frame.
Byron Fancy finished the game with 24 saves, including stopping 13 of 15 shots down the stretch for his fourth win of the year.