The Red Deer Rebels lost a heartbreaker Friday night.
After tying the game with 8.1 seconds left in the game at the Peavey Mart Centrium, the Rebels came up short in overtime 4-3 after the Saskatoon Blades scored with just over a minute left.
Despite the loss, Red Deer picks up a point in an overall close and fast-paced hockey game between a pair of teams who are four points apart in the WHL Eastern Conference standings.
“They’re a fast team,” said Rebels assistant coach Ryan Colville postgame. “I thought it took us a little while to adjust to their speed but once we got going I thought it was a pretty good game.”
“I think I would have liked a better start from our group but I think once we got adjusted we responded well. I think obviously our game is speed and physicality and hopefully next time we can bring a little bit more physicality to the game.”
The Blades jumped out to a 1-0 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the opening frame. Forward Jayden Wiens knocked a saucer pass out of the air into the net once it cleared the stick of the Rebels’ rearguard.
Red Deer later got the equalizer in the second period when Jhett Larson poked in a pass from defenceman Matteo Fabrizi in front of the net.
While the Blades were serving time for a penalty, forward Kai Uchacz poked the puck past a Saskatoon defenceman and had a clear lane to the net. Uchacz made a quick deke move on Blades goaltender Ethan Chadwick but Uchacz was unable to raise the puck high enough and the netminder made a terrific glove save.
Saskatoon gained control of the puck shortly after that and went end-to-end to take a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
Red Deer tied the game midway through the third period off the stick of forward Kalan Lind. While in front of the net Lind attempted a between-the-legs pass to Uchacz but it was redirected off a skate into the net.
While defenceman Jace Weir was serving a four-minute high-sticking penalty the Blades took a 3-2 lead with just under five minutes left in the contest.
However, the Blades made a costly mistake and took a penalty with just over a minute remaining. On the powerplay, defenceman Mats Lindgren fired it in off the rebound with 8.1 seconds left in the period to send it to overtime 3-3.
The Blades however got the upper hand in overtime with a chance out front to end it under four minutes into the extra frame.
Colville added Rebels goaltender Kyle Kelsey, who made 26 saves, was once again great in between the pipes and gave his squad a chance to win. Blades netminder Ethan Chadwick made 21 stops.
Speaking after the game Lind said it speaks a lot to this team to be able to tie the game so late in the contest.
“There’s no quit in our team ever. You see if we’re ever down by five we’re not going to quit. If we’re down by one we’re not going to quit. Whatever it takes to win that’s what we’re going to do to win a hockey game,” Lind said.
“They’ve got a really good team obviously they beat Winnipeg last weekend so you know they’re going to be a good team coming into here with lots of confidence… It was a good hockey game right until the end. Obviously, we scored with 8.1 seconds left and then come overtime you never know what’s going to happen it’s anyone’s game.”
Next up for the Rebels is a Saturday night tilt against the Moose Jaw Warriors at the Peavey Mart Centrium at 7 p.m.