Rebels 5 Hurricanes 4 (Shootout)
One bounce can change a hockey game. Asking for two, in the final two minutes in downright pushing your luck.
Yet the Red Deer Rebels found a way once again, in the most unlikely of ways Wednesday at the Centrium.
It took a shootout, but the Rebels battled back to win 5-4 in a shootout over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Cam Hausinger played hero with the game-tying goal and the shootout winner.
Down 4-2 with 1:55 to go, with a faceoff in the Hurricanes end, defenceman Ty Prefontaine tried to clear the puck behind his own net, only the attempt snuck past netminder Liam Hughes.
Next, Taylor Ross took a penalty for elbowing and the Rebels had a six-on-four advantage for the final 71 seconds.
Brandon Hagel had plenty of chances to tie the game in the final minute, but on perhaps his worst, he created the equalizer.
On a desperation shot with less than 10 seconds left, Hagel funneled the puck toward Hughes and it hit Hausinger’s leg and bounced in to tie the game at four.
“I for sure thought it was over. (Dawson) Barteaux made a good rush and (Hagel) just threw it at the net. It hit my thigh,” Hausinger said.
“Just nice to be able to go to the net. Obviously, it’s not me that got the goal, it’s all six guys on the ice that made a good effort.”
Hurricanes captain Jordy Bellerive scored on the first shot of the shootout, but Hagel responded for Red Deer.
Ethan Anders turned aside the next two shooters and it was Hausinger’s turn to summon the magic again.
He scored the shootout winner Saturday against the Edmonton Oil Kings. This time, he drifted into the zone slowly and went wide much like Saturday and then scored low blocker, also the same place as his last shootout winner.
“I was thinking he just came from Seattle, I don’t think he’s seen that. Maybe I can throw a curveball on him,” Hausinger said of his goal on Hughes, who was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds Tuesday.
“I saw it in the NHL once. I showed my dad and said this is going to be my go-to move. I got to do it the other night and it worked. Just stick with what works.”
Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said it was far from the ideal game for his group, but they just kept pushing, even when trailing late in the game.
“We battled. Certainly far from a mistake-free game. We didn’t quit and we stayed with it. Stayed positive on the bench. Even the last two and a half minutes, we just found a way to get the one goal to make it 4-3, a break,” Sutter said.
“You get those. You earn those then the power play, just throw the puck on net and something good came out of it.”
Red Deer fell behind the eight ball early, just 3:48 into the contest.
With the Rebels caught puck watching below the goal line, Nick Henry found former Jake Leschysyn who notched his 25th goal of the year and ninth since joining the Hurricanes.
Calen Addison extended the advantage for the visitors just past the midway point of the first on a seeing-eye point shot that eluded Anders.
Red Deer finally found some pushback thanks to veteran forward Jeff de Wit 46 seconds after the Addison tally.
The 20-year-old Red Deer product converted his 21st tally of the year, on a two-on-one. De Wit tried to slip a pass by a Hurricanes defender, but the back deflected back to him and he slid it past Liam Hughes.
Dylan Cozens then restored the two-goal Hurricanes advantage early in the second. The 2019 NHL Draft eligible forward ripped a rocket high glove past Anders only 51 seconds in the second period.
On just their fourth shot of the second period, Brandon Hagel got Red Deer back within a goal. Hagel buried his team-leading 22nd goal of the year with 2:52 left in the frame. Zak Smith hunted down a loose puck and slid a backhand pass to Hagel for the goal.
Red Deer showed some more pushback early in the third, but Ross scored six minutes into the period to create a big advantage for the visitors.
“We got some chances. They get the one to make it 4-2. I was impressed with the group and just staying resilient,” Sutter added.
“Don’t quit and keep going. There were some mistakes, some turnovers. From that side of the game, not the way we want to play.”
Anders made 28 saves in the Rebels net and Hughes stopped 26 for Lethbridge.
Hagel was first star, Nick Henry was second and Dawson Barteaux was third.
Red Deer is on the road Friday in Calgary and back at home Saturday against the Victoria Royals.