The Red Deer Rebels celebrate a first period goal during the WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final in Game 4 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the Enmax Centrium. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Rebels force Game 5 with 5-2 win

Rebels 5 Hurricanes 2 (Lethbridge leads the best-of-seven series 3-1)

The Red Deer Rebels finally showed some fight with their backs against the wall on Wednesday night at home.

Facing elimination in game 4, down 3-0 in the WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final best-of-seven series with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Rebels avoided the sweep and extended their playoff stay a few extra days.

Red Deer pulled out a 5-2 victory as their playoff fate hung in the balance and they showed plenty of grit and determination that was lacking in the first two games of the series.

“Great win, we needed it. Everyone played a good game. Good team effort,” said Rebels veteran forward Reese Johnson, who scored the opening goal of the game and was named second star.

“We needed a pushback from everyone, it’s been awesome these two games at home and just have to carry that into Saturday.”

For the first time in the series, the Rebels held the Hurricanes off the scoreboard on the power play.

Lethbridge had scored nine goals on the man-advantage in three games heading into Wednesday. With a Brandon Hagel power-play goal, it was the first time the Rebels won the special teams battle against the Hurricanes.

“(The penalty kill) was huge and to get the power play goal, too,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.

“It’s just having better awareness and doing things better and the little details that we were getting away from. They’ve got a good power play, but you can’t give them freebies. We’re getting the saves when we need them and that was important.”

Ethan Anders picked up his first playoff win with 34 saves on the night and made several key stops late in the game as the Rebels were trying to close it out. He also picked up a rare assist on the Rebels’ fourth goal.

“Andy made a couple key saves late in the third there on good quality scoring chances, he stopped the puck which is huge at this time of the year,” Johnson added.

Johnson fired a wrist shot high blocker past Hurricanes Logan Flodell on a breakaway midway through the first to give the Rebels a 1-0 advantage. It was his first career playoff goal.

After a period dominated mostly by the Rebels, Lethbridge tied the game at one with just 40 seconds left in the first frame. Matthew Stanley found the mark from a sharp angle just below the faceoff dot that beat Anders along the ice.

Despite being heavily outshot in the period, Tate Olson scored late in the second to put the Hurricanes up 2-1. Brad Morrison hit Olson with a behind-the-back pass and the defenceman one-timed the shot past Anders. Morrison leads the WHL 12 points in four playoff games.

Mason McCarty responded just over a minute later to knot the game at two. It was the 21-year-old forward’s first playoff goal in just his fourth career post-season contest.

Lethbridge was hit with a too-many-men penalty late in the second period and it proved costly early in the final frame. Kristian Reichel fired a shot from the point that deflected to Hagel at the side of the net and he buried his fourth goal of the playoffs just 38 seconds into the third period.

Midway through the third, just out of the penalty box, Alex Alexeyev was sprung all alone on a breakaway and the Russian defenceman deked and put a backhand past Flodell. It was just the second game in March for the 17-year-old after his missed most of the month with an upper-body injury.

Reichel scored an empty net goal with 28 seconds to play to seal the win.

Game 5 is Saturday in Lethbridge and Sutter said if his team can play like they did at home, they’ll have a shot to win.

“Play like we can. We haven’t played well in Lethbridge in this series and we know that,” Sutter said.

“It’s playoff hockey. The two games we played here were much better than the two games there. We just need to carry that on and see what happens.”

If necessary, game 6 will be in Red Deer on April 1 at 7 p.m. at the Centrium.



Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Reese Johnson celebrates a goal in the first period of game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final in Red Deer on Wednesday night. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Just Posted

Red Deer woman lives 102 years with humour, ‘gentle strength’ — and porridge

Minnie Deibert was surrounded by family and friends at her birthday party Sunday

Boy escapes serious injury after falling from third-storey window

SURREY, B.C. — A little boy is very lucky to have escaped… Continue reading

Harmonic singing for young women will be taught at a fall workshop in Red Deer

The Hearts of Harmony Chorus is presenting the Nov. 16 session

‘Crying out for help:’ Calgary radicalization program evolves to help others

CALGARY — The soft-spoken young man wasn’t being recruited by neo-Nazis or… Continue reading

Victoria pledges to plant 5,000 trees as part of United Nations challenge

Victoria is promising to plant 5,000 trees on public and private land… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Liberals pitch middle-class savings as second full week of campaign beckons

OTTAWA — The Liberals tried to turn the page on Justin Trudeau’s… Continue reading

Democrats blast latest Trump crisis. But what will they do?

WASHINGTON — A whistleblower’s complaint over President Donald Trump’s interactions with a… Continue reading

Face transplant recipient’s donor face now failing

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A woman who was severely burned in a domestic… Continue reading

Charity boat with 182 migrants waits to dock in Europe

A non-profit-run ship carrying 182 migrants rescued on the Mediterranean Sea sailed… Continue reading

Singh-Trudeau meeting will be private, say Liberals, but no time set yet

OTTAWA — The Liberal Party pledged Saturday to keep private the details… Continue reading

Glen Assoun calls for reform in how Ottawa considers cases of wrongful conviction

HALIFAX — Tethered to an ankle monitor and alone in a British… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Saturday nights $9 million Lotto 649 jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $9 million jackpot… Continue reading

Most Read