Skip to content

Red Deer Rebels edge Hitmen in OT to remain undefeated

Isley scored in overtime
Rebels forward Kalan Lind celebrates after Jhett Larson opened the scoring Saturday night at the Peavey Mart Centrium against the Calgary Hitmen. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Red Deer Rebels fans got a blast from the past Saturday night when they took on their division rival Calgary Hitmen.

With plenty of physical play, including two fights in the second period, Rebels forward Jace Isley sent the visiting Hitmen home on a penalty shot snipe in overtime to end the game 3-2.

The home team had a quick start 40 seconds into the game when Rebels forward Jhett Larson capitalized on a scoring chance out front after Kalan Lind fired a puck on net.

Soon after that while Lind battled for position in the corner a Hitmen forward appeared to body slam Lind onto his head. The Shaunavon, Sask. native was helped off the ice while holding the back of his head and did not return to the game. The Hitmen did not serve a penalty for the hit, much to the dismay of the home crowd.

Head coach Steve Konowalchuk said he hopes the league looks into the play that appeared to injure Lind.

“Kalan Lind plays a hard honest game and this gives me flashbacks from last year in Edmonton and the league didn’t look into it… The kid plays hard and to me, I’d just like the league to look into this hit,” he said.

As the opening period was coming to a close with just over a minute left the Hitmen tied the game 1-1.

In the middle frame, the game took a physical turn when Rebels forward Kai Uchacz dropped the gloves with Keagan Slaney followed by another center ice tilt between Frantisek Formanek and Maxim Muranov.

“It was an exciting game… In a lot of situations the referee couldn’t police the game and they didn’t. So, our guys stood up for themselves…It’s not about fighting that’s not what we’re about but it’s about standing up for one another and good job by our guys.”

However, in the final frame, the Hitmen tied it up while both teams played four-on four with offsetting penalties.

Midway through the second period forward Jace Isley regained the lead for the home team with a snipe from the hash marks.

Fast forward to the final minute of play in the third, Grubbe headed to the penalty box for goaltender interference but the Rebels stood tall on defence. While Red Deer was still killing off the penalty in overtime, Isley got a clean lane to the net on a breakaway but a Hitmen player tripped Isley awarding him a penalty shot. The 20-year-old did not disappoint placing it in the top corner of the net.

“It felt really good. A little nerve-wracking though it was after another shift. I was pretty tired but it felt good to get that in and get the win for the guys,” Isley said. “The ice was pretty bad in the middle of the ice so I just kept it simple and took my shot.”

This season Isley has four goals and said he’s focused on perfecting the fundamentals and doing “all the little things right.”

“I try to do what I can you know I’m on a good line right now and want to keep the ball rolling,” he added.

Just minutes before Isley scored, on the defensive end goaltender Kyle Kelsey made a fantastic game-saving stop off a one-timer while the Hitmen were on the powerplay.

“He’s been the backbone in our locker room. He’s got to keep playing good in order to keep winning hockey games,” Isley added.

Konowalchuk added Isley has played great hockey and has a little deception in his speed.

“Defenders think they have him and all of a sudden he hits another gear and he gets loose. [It] was sure a nice play to draw that penalty shot to drive the net. It was a good play and obviously a really nice penalty shot,” Konowalchuk said.

The Hitmen were unsuccessful on all five of their powerplay chances, most importantly a four-on-three advantage in overtime that could have won them the game.

“Really good effort on the PK. Huge save obviously in overtime there to give us a chance to score but [the] penalty kill was huge when it had to be. From a little bit of a slow start from some of our guys that turned out to be, I think something our team should build off of. Finding a way to get into the game the way you need to, sticking together… I’m proud of a lot of guys in that room. They competed real hard.”

The Rebels are now 5-0 on the season and have propelled themselves into second place in the Eastern Conference. The Rebels will return to the ice next Friday in Moose Jaw against the Warriors.

Captain Jayden Grubbe just missed the net on a breakaway chance against the Calgary Hitmen Saturday night at the Peavey Mart Centrium. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)
Rebels forward Frantisek Formanek heads up ice against the Calgary Hitmen Saturday night at the Peavey Mart Centrium. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

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.
Read more