Rebels battle back to beat Blades

SASKATOON — Facing the very real possibility of having their WHL winning string snapped at one game, the Red Deer Rebels found another gear in the late stages of Wednesday’s clash with the Saskatoon Blades.

Rebels 4 Blades 3

SASKATOON — Facing the very real possibility of having their WHL winning string snapped at one game, the Red Deer Rebels found another gear in the late stages of Wednesday’s clash with the Saskatoon Blades.

The Rebels outshot their hosts 14-4 in the third period while getting unanswered goals from Josh Mahura and Presten Kopeck en route to a 4-3 victory before 4,479 fans at SaskTel Centre.

“I thought as the game went on we got better and better,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “We had a slow start and then got our legs under us and started playing better in the second period. We just started playing with more gumption and more urgency in the second and in the third we took it to another level.”

Red Deer, which ended a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 win at Prince Albert Tuesday, never led Wednesday’s contest until Kopeck broke a 3-3 tie with his 17th goal of the season at 15:21 of the final frame.

The Blades led 1-0 after one period on Brett Stovin’s 24th goal, but overage forward Riley Sheen cashed his own rebound to pull Red Deer even at 2:05 of the middle stanza.

The hosts regained the lead a mere 39 seconds later as Schael Higson’s point shot found its way through a crowd and past netminder Trevor Martin, making his first-ever start for the Rebels. Wyatt Johnson got the visitors back on even terms at 6:40 of the period before Amil Krupic restored the Blades’ one-goal cushion seven minutes later.

Mahura, with his first WHL goal, tied the game at three 13:56 into the third period, completing a nifty passing play that included Connor Gay and Sheen and setting the stage for Kopeck’s winner at 15:21.

“I was happy with the way the second half of the game went for us,” said Sutter.

“We created lots of scoring opportunities. We were making plays and doing a lot of good things.”

The Rebels fired 39 shots at Saskatoon netminder Nik Amundrud, while Martin stopped 30 drives. Sutter was impressed with the 18-year-old goaltender, who was acquired from the Blades in early January and reassigned to the Melville Millionaires of the SJHL.

“He just makes saves. His positional play is pretty good,” said the Rebels bench boss. “There are things he needs to work on still, Taylor (Rebels goalie coach Dakers) will have to spend some time with him.

“But there’s a reason why we made a trade for him and he gave us the answers tonight. He definitely was very solid. He made some key saves, especially in the first period.”

Martin will now rejoin his SJHL team and will likely be summoned back to the Rebels at the conclusion of Melville’s season, unless Red Deer’s season ends first.

l The Rebels forward line of Kopeck (1g,1a), Brooks Maxwell (1a) and Johnson (1g,1a) combined for five points and all three were in on the winning goal. “Their pace was good and their experience really showed tonight,” said Sutter . . . Sheen was named first star of the game, with Higson and Kopeck getting the second and third stars . . . The Rebels conclude their four-game trip with games Friday and Saturday at Swift Current and Regina.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read