Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)

Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT)

The Red Deer Rebels were able to come back from a two-goal deficit to pick up their first win of the 2020-2021 season.

Red Deer Rebels (1-2-1) defeated the Calgary Hitmen 3-2 in overtime at the Westerner Park Centrium in Red Deer Saturday night. This win came after the Rebels were defeated 2-0 Friday night in Calgary.

Tristan Zandee got Calgary (1-0-1) on the board 7:16 into the second period, after knocking the puck past Rebels goaltender Ethan Anders.

Sean Tschigeri doubled Calgary’s lead for Calgary 16:04 into the second period after grabbing a rebound and sliding it into the net.

With just two seconds remaining in the middle frame, Red Deer’s Chris Douglas scored his third of the season to cut the two-goal lead in half. Mason Ward picked up the primary assist after sliding the puck over to Douglas, who hammered the puck past Calgary goaltender Jack McNaughton. Chase Leslie grabbed the secondary assist.

With about three minutes left in the game, Rebels defender Kyle Masters had the puck deep in his own zone. He fired the puck down the ice onto McNaughton, who juggled the puck and let out a big rebound. Red Deer’s Ben King skated into the zone, picked up the loose puck and chipped it over McNaughton’s shoulder to tie the game at two.

In overtime, King and Arshdeep Bains found themselves on a two-on-one rush. Bains slid the puck over to King, who passed it right back to Bains. Then Bains shovelled the puck into the net to give Red Deer the 3-2 win. Leslie again picked up the secondary assist.

“Les brought it up the ice, Bainsy got on it and I saw a two-on-one,” King told after the game. “Bainsy fed it over, I couldn’t get a clear shot so I just tried to give it back to him.

“He made a good play to stop it and put it in the net. It was just a good two-on-one play and luckily we got away with it.”

Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said the goal at the end of the second period gave the team some momentum going into the final frame.

“Then you get a break on the second one, just like they got a break on their second goal last night,” he added, referring to a freak, 200-foot goal,” said Sutter.

“In the third period and overtime we had the puck a lot and made some nice plays. Then you never know how things are going to turn out in overtime. Hopefully we’re starting to find our way here where we can get some consistency in our game where we’re playing the right way all the time.”

It’s nice to pick up a win, but coming back in a game is “even bigger,” said Sutter.

“The kids are practicing hard, they’re making a commitment here to get better. All the teams have lots of time to work in practice to develop and get better.

“But there’s nothing like competing in a game and it’s nice to get the victory for sure.”

Anders stopped 32 of 34 shots in the game, while McNaughton stopped 31 of 34.

Red Deer will take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes three times this weekend. The teams will play each other in Red Deer on Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. They will also face off in Lethbridge Saturday at 6 p.m.

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