On a night when Brandon Hagel was honoured for his performance in November, he stepped up with the game on the line.
The Red Deer Rebels alternate captain scored the overtime winner with a beautiful tic-tac-toe finish, in a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday night at the Centrium in WHL action.
The OT goal was Hagel’s third game winner of the season and second in the extra frame, as well as his 14th goal of the year. Hagel had nine goals and 19 points in November to capture the team’s player of the month award as well.
GM and head coach Brent Sutter said considering the skill each team has, he was just happy his team came out on the winning side in overtime.
“In overtime, 3 on 3 hockey, you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “When both teams, with the skill sets they have on the ice, there’s going to be some decent plays made and I’m glad we were the ones that made it.”
Sutter added he liked the play of Hagel and Michael Spacek on Saturday, explaining that to win in the WHL your best players have to be the best players on the ice.
“As a twosome, they played better tonight,” Sutter said. “They feed off each other and create scoring chances and opportunities and I thought they did a great job of that. And they defended well… it was one of their better games for them in a few games now which was good to see, because our best players need to be our best players.”
Spacek has also been rolling on the scoresheet for the Rebels, as he now as 10 points in his last seven games.
The OT winner earned Hagel second star honours on the night, with the first star going to Rebels’ captain Adam Musil, who scored both goals in regulation. Musil’s first brought a barrage of hats to the ice, as Saturday was the Rebels annual Toque Toss night. The St. Louis Blues prospect had a big smile when describing the feeling after the first period marker.
“It was awesome,” Musil said. “We talked about it in the room before the game, so I was pretty happy to get that one.”
Musil added his second of the night on a wrist shot just below Hurricanes goalie Stuart Skinner’s blocker. Musil is now up to 11 goals on the season and has five in his last three games.
“I try to play hard and play my game,” Musil said. “Compete every shift. I’m getting rewarded and I’m glad it’s going in right now.”
Lost in the victory was another squandered lead by the Rebels, their fourth straight game where they have let at least a two goal lead slip away.
Lasse Petersen was solid in net for the home side, with 22 saves and several key stops down the stretch.
Defenceman Colton Bobyk also extended his WHL leading point streak to 13 with an assist on the Rebels first goal.