Rebels clinch playoff spot with win in Medicine Hat

The Red Deer Rebels scored four third period goals in just two minutes and 15 seconds

Rebels 8 Tigers 3

The Red Deer Rebels scored four third period goals in just two minutes and 15 seconds to pull away from the Medicine Hat Tigers in a 8-3 win on the road.

“We played hard, we capitalized on opportunities,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.

“Our goaltending was good. Obviously the team we played was a good hockey team. We knew we were going to have to compete hard tonight, that’s just the way we have to play all the time.”

More importantly, the win means the Rebels have clinched a spot in the 2017 WHL playoffs.

“The biggest thing is we played well and you don’t control what the other teams do, you just have to take care of your own business,” Sutter said.

“Right now we’re sitting four points up on Calgary for third in the division. We both have three games left. Hopefully we can get that, if we don’t get that we still have a chance at the first wild card.”

The Rebels trailed Medicine Hat 2-1 midway through the second, before Brandon Hagel scored his 26th goal of the year and turned the tide in the visitors favour.

Jordan Roy added his third of the season late in the period and Red Deer then exploded in the final frame for five goals.

Hagel finished the night with four points including a second goal in the third period. He was named first star for the game and is up to 63 points in 62 games this season.

His linemate Michael Spacek also added a goal in the third and is up to 29 goals on the season. Spacek also now has 12 points in his last seven games and 82 on season.

”When they play the game the right way, they’re good at what they do. For the last couple weeks, both of them have played pretty well. They’re creating stuff and making things happen,” Sutter said of the forward Hagel and Spacek combo.

“But they’re more responsible in their own zone. They are capitalizing on their opportunities which they need to do. Their work ethic has been really good too. Both of them have been good for the last little while.”

Lost a little bit in the third period outburst was the play of Rebels goalie Lasse Petersen, who made 37 saves in the victory.

“I thought he made some huge saves, there were a couple in the second that were massive saves, ” Sutter said. “He made the saves but at the end of the day that’s what you have to have goaltending for.”

While the Rebels scored three times shorthanded on Tuesday including a Lane Zablocki penalty shot in the first period, they also allowed Medicine Hat to score three times on the man advantage.

Evan Polei also scored for Red Deer in the third and has a career high 32 on the year.

Red Deer is back on the ice at home Wednesday against the Calgary Hitmen. The Hitmen trail Red Deer by four points in the Central Division.

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