Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles a pair of Prince Albert Raiders for a loose puck in the first period of WHL action at the Centrium on Saturday night. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer Rebels comeback for shootout win over Prince Albert Raiders

Rebels 4 Raiders 3 (SO)

The Red Deer Rebels have struggled this season when trailing after two periods, with only two come-from-behind wins in 25 games.

Saturday night at the Centrium against the Prince Albert Raiders, they fell behind 3-1, 64 seconds into the third.

That’s when hometown kid Keaton Sorensen helped turn the tide for the Rebels, scoring his fourth of the year just over a minute after the Raiders.

Then it was Zak Smith, who hadn’t scored in 10 games, scoring his second of the night, on the power play with a snipe past Carter Serhyenko.

Ethan Anders held the fort for the rest of the contest and turned aside four Prince Albert shots in overtime.

In the shootout, Josh Tarzwell and Ben King scored for Red Deer and again, Anders shut the door, stopping both Raiders’ shooters.

The 4-3 win was the first shootout win of the year for the Rebels in four chances and the fifth straight extra-time game for the visitors.

Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said it was a solid effort from his club to pick up the two points against a strong Raiders team.

“It was a heck of a game, really. We were down 3-1 and you look at their goal at the end of the period, it was unfortunate. We just didn’t handle that right coming out of the box and their third goal, we just mishandled the puck at the side of the net,”

Sutter said.

“Other than that I thought we played really well. We just kept going. It was a big goal by Keaton to get us right back into it quickly. Then you get a power play and make something happen. You get into overtime, you don’t know how it’s going to work out. This weekend we played hard, we competed and did a lot of really good things.”

Prince Albert opened the scoring in the first on a highlight reel play from Ilya Usau. The import winger walked around the Rebels defender and went top shelf for his 15th goal of the campaign.

Red Deer drew even with 8:50 left in the second. Smith battled through a Raiders’ check and fired a spin-o-rama shot through the legs of Carter Serhyenko.

Late in the period, Prince Albert jumped back out in front. Brayden Watts hit Ladon Kosior, who left the penalty box and snuck behind the Rebels defence. Kosior broke in all alone and wired a wrist shot past Anders with only 38 seconds left in the frame.

A poor turnover behind Rebels net led to a Raiders’ tally early in the third. Just over a minute after that marker, Sorensen, 17, notched his fifth goal of the year with a nice wraparound to cut the deficit to one.

Smith buried his second of the night 5:54 into the third to tie the game. Arshdeep Bains made a slick feed to the 19-year-old winger, he sniped his ninth of the year high glove on Serhyenko.

“It was nice, I’ve been struggling lately,” said Smith.

“This year, I’ve been struggling with points but just trying to stick with my game and I think this year I’ve been getting better at different aspects. I think (the) offence was going to come and (Saturday) it did.”

Anders turned aside 31 shots in the win, picking up just his second win since returning from injury on Jan. 4.

“Andy has been struggling with injuries the past couple months and you wonder if staying off the ice if he’d get a little rusty,” Smith said.

“He came in (Saturday) and stayed strong, made big saves and kept us in the game. He was a big part of the win.”

Three stars: Zak Smith (1), Ozzy Wiesblatt (2), Ethan Anders (3).

The Rebels will hit the ice next on Jan. 25, when they host the Calgary Hitmen in the first game of a home-and-home.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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