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Rebels erase four-goal deficit to win in double OT in Game 1

Playoff heroics

Rebels 5

Tigers 4

The Red Deer Rebels erased a four-goal deficit to steal Game 1 on the road at Co-op Place in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Down by four in the second period to the Medicine Hat Tigers, the Rebels scored four unanswered goals to send it to the extra frame.

In double overtime, Rebels Kalan Lind scored a minute and 15 seconds in to complete the historic comeback. The 19-year-old forced a turnover in the Tigers end and with the puck on his stick in the slot, he fired it into the top corner.

Head coach Dave Struch said the Rebels’ past playoff experiences and the lessons learned from those helped them in the long run.

“When it was 4-0 earlier in the game the energy on the bench was high. They talked about things like this happening. You never know when the momentum will shift and they did it tonight,” Struch said.

“It was a character win but I think the investment that they put into the practicing and conditioning over the last three weeks paid off.”

The Tigers scored first just 6:17 into the game when forward Oasiz Wiesblatt fired in a shot off a rebound in front of the net.

Exactly a minute later forward Andrew Basha gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead when he knocked in a loose puck in the crease.

Tigers star forward Cayden Lindstrom, who’s expected to be a high pick in this year’s NHL Draft, got an assist on the play after charging toward the net. Before the game on Friday, the Tigers announced his return to the lineup after being out since Dec. 16 with an upper-body injury.

Midway through the first period, the Rebels were awarded the first powerplay of the game after the Tigers were caught with too many men on the ice. Ultimately, they were unable to convert on the man advantage.

In the final 30 seconds of the frame, rookie phenom Gavin McKenna was sprung on a breakaway and beat Rebels netminder Chase Wutzke.

Heading into the intermission shots were tied at 13 and the Rebels were in desperate need of a big second period to get back into the game.

Just 2:04 into the frame defenceman Josh Van Mulligen scored off a feed from Tyler MacKenzie behind the net to lead 4-0.

However, with 12:02 left in the second period, the Rebels finally got on the board when captain Kai Uchacz knocked the puck out of the air on a chance in front of the net assisted by Lind.

After Tigers captain MacKenzie went to the box for interference with less than six minutes left in the period, Carson Latimer brought the Rebels within two on the powerplay.

Latimer, who returned last week from a broken jaw, threw the puck on the net that redirected off a Tigers defender and in.

The Rebels pulled within one with 12:32 to go in the game when a point shot from defenceman Mats Lindgren made its way through traffic and into the back of the net.

Red Deer tied the game with just under six minutes to go. Defenceman Hunter Mayo held in the puck at the blue line and fed an open Ollie Josephson who beat the goalie on a spin move in front.

That set up Lind’s double overtime heroics to seal the deal on the victory in Game 1. The Tigers and Rebels will be back at it on Saturday evening in Game 2 at Co-op Place. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

“We’ve already spoken about it this is now over with. Let’s get our rest, reload, and get ready for tomorrow.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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