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Rebels take down Tigers in overtime to take series lead in Game 3

2-1 series lead
Red Deer Rebels defenceman Hunter Mayo skates through the defensive zone during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Tuesday at the Peavey Mart Centrium. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Rebels 4 Tigers 3 (OT)

It was a battle to the end.

After the Medicine Hat Tigers tied it late in the third period to send it to overtime, Rebels forward Samuel Drancak scored six and a half minutes into overtime to win 4-3 in Game 3 on Tuesday night.

With the win, the Rebels take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in front of 4,040 fans at the Peavey Mart Centrium.

Rebels forward Carson Latimer, who had two goals in the game, said the group should feel good about themselves after a hard-fought win.

“[Drancak’s] goal was huge,” he said. “Anytime you score an overtime goal, especially in playoffs the magnitude of it is crazy. It’s just such an exciting time for our group right now. It’s really fun to be out there.”

The Tigers opened the scoring midway through the first period. Nearly 10 minutes in Tigers’ Hayden Harsanyi fired in the rebound on the offensive rush after Shane Smith’s shot bounced out of the crease.

The Rebels found the equalizer late in the opening period. While shorthanded Latimer scored off the feed from defenceman Derek Thurston with less than one second left.

Latimer explained he had no idea how little time left there was.

“Apparently the guys were yelling at me. I didn’t hear them and I was going to do the same thing regardless of the time. I lucked out there for sure.”

In the second period, the Tigers retook the lead just over six minutes in off the stick of Oasiz Wiesblatt who beat Rebels netminder Chase Wutzke.

Forty-seven seconds later Latimer scored his second of the game on the powerplay. Forward Kalan Lind, who was behind the Tigers’ net, passed the puck out front to Latimer who fired it into the top corner.

With just under five minutes to go in the second period, Hunter Mayo gave the Rebels their first lead of the game. His point shot made it through traffic and was redirected past the goaltender.

In the third period, the Tigers came out and immediately started applying offensive pressure. It appeared they tied the game at three early on but the referees determined there was incidental contact with the Rebels goaltender and waived it off.

With the goalie pulled in the final minute, the Tigers tied it 3-3 with 25 seconds to go from Andrew Basha who scored in the slot.

That set up Drancak’s overtime heroics to lead the best of seven series. This marks the Rebels second overtime win over the Tigers this series.

“We’ve been through a lot and for us to face adversity is nothing new. We’ve just got to keep going, play our game, and we’re happy with the result,” Latimer added.

Rebels head coach Dave Struch said the game didn’t go quite the way they pictured it.

“There was a lot of play in our end we didn’t want to be a part of but we’re going to give Medicine Hat credit for their game… They pushed the pace on us a lot,” Struch said.

“We did respond at different points throughout the game thankfully at the right time in overtime. Now we shelf that game and get ready for tomorrow night.”

Rebels goaltender Chase Wutzke had a big night in the net and made 35 saves in the victory.

Next for Rebels and Tigers will be Game 4 back at the Peavey Mart Centrium on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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