Rebels 5 Hurricanes 1
The Red Deer Rebels found a unique way to offset a lack of discipline on home ice in the weekend finale against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Saturday, the Rebels allowed three power-play goals and it cost them two points so, Sunday, instead of taking fewer penalties, they did their best work a man down.
Red Deer scored twice shorthanded and killed off eight of nine penalties in a dominant 5-1 win at the Centrium.
Both Josh Tarzwell and Ben King buried a man short in the second period on the same Hurricanes’ advantage, which ultimately made the difference.
“Our penalty kill was awesome. It was unreal. We were moving, the bench was going. No momentum going their way,” said Tarzwell, who had a goal and two assists and was first star in the win.
“You can’t beat it. It was really good.”
The strong penalty killing spoiled a sweep of the three-game WHL Central division weekend series for Lethbridge and moved the Rebels to 2-3-2-0 on the year.
“(Sunday) was probably our most complete game as far as a full game. (Saturday) we were good and we shot ourselves in the foot by taking some penalties at bad times. Our penalty killing wasn’t great (Saturday) and hadn’t been good the first two games of the series,” said Rebels GM and head coach Brent Sutter.
“(Sunday) the penalty killing was really good. We changed some things up and the kids adjusted to it well. Our five-on-five play, (Saturday) and (Sunday) has been pretty strong. We deserved the win, we earned it. That’s the thing about this game, you have to earn victories.”
Tarzwell notched his first of the night opened for the Rebels on the power play. A Douglas’ shot bounced out to the 20-year-old winger and he buried his third goal of the year.
“Both him and Dougie, as 20-year-olds this weekend they played really well and we need that. They’re going to play in a lot of different situations– key situations,” Sutter said.
Lethbridge equalized on their second straight man-advantage chance six and a half minutes later. Logan Barlage blasted a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle past Fancy.
Tarzwell’s goal late in the second swung the momentum toward’s the home side and King’s slammed the door shut.
“To get a shorthanded one and to get another one, those are backbreakers,” Sutter said.
“That was a really big turning point in the game.”
Byron Fancy gets the start in net for Red Deer.
— Byron Hackett (@RDAbyronhackett) March 15, 2021
Special teams kept rolling for the Rebels in the third, when Arshdeep Bains pounced on a rebound to score his third of the season.
Jace Isley added to the lead late in the third, King finished with three points and Byron Fancy turned aside 12 shots in the final frame to clinch the victory.
It was just the second start of the year for Fancy, after a rough outing on the opening weekend. He finished Sunday with 27 saves to earn the victory.
“Credit to him, he battled hard (Sunday). He was prepared to play, made some big saves. I thought he had a real strong game,” said Sutter.
In Saturday’s overtime loss in Lethbridge, penalties hurt the Rebels all night long. Lethbridge scored three power-play goals in the 4-3 victory, including an Alex Cotton tally just 53 seconds into overtime, after Jaxsen Wiebe interference minor late in regulation. Alex Thacker and Justin Hall both had power-play tallies in the second period for Lethbridge and Hall also opened the scoring in the first.
After Hall’s opening goal, Red Deer scored twice to carry a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes. Jace Isley notched his first of the year and Josh Tarzwell got his second on the man advantage late in the frame.
Ben King cashed in his second of the year in the second period to open up a 3-1 lead.
Kyle Masters finished the night with two assists for Red Deer and Ethan Anders stopped 26 saves in the loss.