Some nights the bounces go your way and others, the hockey gods are cruel.
A night after the Rebels were fortunate to pull out two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, it was the latter that were recipients of good luck Saturday in a 2-1 victory at the Centrium.
It has been a tight battle between the two clubs all season long. In four meetings, each team has won twice and they’ve gone to extra time on two occasions.
Saturday, it was a similar story. Red Deer outshot the Hurricanes 36-31 and had plenty of chances to pick up the win on 80s night in front of 4,701 fans.
Only, on this night, Hurricanes goalie Carl Tetachuk was just one save better than Ethan Anders.
“It was a really good hockey game, both goalies were outstanding. We had lots of chances. We didn’t capitalize on opportunities,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.
With the game tied 1-1 midway through the third period, after Red Deer had several glorious chances to tie the game, the Hurricanes took advantage.
On a two-on-one, Logan Barlage slid a pass across to Jackson Shepard who chipped a shot just over Anders’ outstretched pad.
It was the first lead of the night for the visitors and another crucial third-period lapse for the Rebels.
“Bad mistake from our forwards turning the puck over and being too cute in the neutral zone. Cycling back instead of just playing straight lines. It’s a 1-1 hockey game and you have to play the right way,” Sutter said.
“Made a bad play to the boards and then our winger didn’t do the job. Tough game to lose… I thought we played a really good game. A lot of chances. We were pushing the pace. You don’t capitalize and their goalie keeps them in it. A couple of mistakes cost us.”
Early in the night, it was all Rebels.
After some furious pressure early, Jeff de Wit broke the deadlock in the first. On the power play, de Wit posted up in front of Carl Tetachuk and as he’s done on many occasions, tipped home a point shot for his 24th goal of the year.
Red Deer used the momentum from the first and rolled early in the second, outshooting the Hurricanes at one point 23-10.
That advantage seemed to fade when de Wit hurt was hurt early in the second after he hit his shoulder on the post.
“At that point, both Jeff (de Wit) and Alex (Alexeyev) went out and Alex came back. Jeff is a big part of our team. Of course, when you lose a good player like that and your lineup is playing – him and Hags compliment each other so well,” Sutter said.
Uncle mo shifted swiftly to the Hurricanes and they notched the equalizer with just over seven minutes left in the second. While playing four-on-four, Jake Leschyshyn tipped home a Calen Addison point shot.
Early in the third Hagel hit the post on his third breakaway of the night and was held pointless for the first time nine games.
Red Deer had a boatload of glorious chances midway through the third to pull away from the Hurricanes, but Tetachuk stood tall. He finished the night with 35 saves.
“You have to keep finding ways. Keep shooting. I thought we got back to playing pretty good. Even in the third, I thought we played pretty good,” Sutter said, still lamenting the third-period turnover that led to the game-winning goal.
“You have to understand what the score is and you can’t be too cute. You have to keep the game simple and play the game the right way. It cost us. They got a goal on an odd-man rush after a neutral zone turnover.”
Carl Tetachuk (1), Brandon Hagel (2) and Oleg Zaytsev were the three stars.