Rebels 2 Hurricanes 1
It was a victory the Red Deer Rebels won’t soon forget.
In the final minutes of overtime, Rebels goaltender Rhett Stoesser stood tall and came up with some big stops including a pad stop to keep the game tied 1-1.
But with 5.9 seconds left in the extra frame, defenceman Hunter Mayo fired a shot past Lethbridge Hurricanes netminder Harrison Meneghin to secure the 2-1 win, Red Deer’s third straight victory.
“It was a good win,” said Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk after the victory in Lethbridge. “You know you’re going to have to battle when you come in here from start to finish.
“They got solid goaltending and they played tight in front of the net so you know you’re going to have to battle right to the end. Our guys did that.”
The goal was Mayo’s 14th of the year and he now leads all Western Hockey League defencemen in goals.
“He’s got an elite shot for this level and he’s still only 18,” Konowalchuk added. “He has the poise to get it off at the right time. There he had the patience and other times he got stopped quickly so he had to be smart as well.
“He’s a good solid all-around defenceman. I mean the goals are one thing but defensively he wins battles, moves pucks, and defends well.
Both teams were scoreless in the opening period but the Hurricanes outshot the Rebels 13-10.
Red Deer played a much stronger game in the second period holding the Hurricanes to just five shots but added 19 shots of their own.
The Rebels’ offensive pressure paid off just two minutes into the frame when forward Kalan Lind’s shot went bar down past goaltender Harrison Meneghin. That was Lind’s 12th tally of the season and his third in three games.
The Hurricanes got the equalizer roughly 10 minutes later when forward Miguel Marques fired one into the back of the net.
In the third period, both teams had plenty of scoring chances. Forward Kai Uchacz had a big opportunity in front of the net but was robbed by goaltender Harrison Meneghin.
In overtime, before Mayo’s goal to close out the game both goaltenders Meneghin and Stoesser made crucial saves for their clubs. In front of the home crowd, Meneghin had an incredible 37 stops but Stoesser was equally as impressive with 31 saves in the victory.
“[Stoesser] made some huge saves,” Konowalchuk said. “The kid just goes out there and gets it done. That’s all I can ask.
“The first period he had some big saves and then we went through a stretch where there wasn’t a lot of action. Then all of a sudden he had to make three really big saves and he certainly did that.”
“He just keeps going out there and finding ways to get the job done. Yesterday and today may be a couple of his best games.”
The Rebels will return home next Friday for a matchup with the Prince George Cougars at 7 p.m. before taking on the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday.