Rebels 6 Raiders 5 (OT)
It was a fun night in Prince Albert if you weren’t a goalie or a coach.
The Red Deer Rebels and Prince Albert Raiders played a wild contest at the Art Hauser Centre Tuesday, with overtime needed to find a winner in the track meet.
The first and third periods were a dead heat, the second belonged to the Raiders and overtime went the Rebels way in the absolutely bonkers 6-5 win for Red Deer.
“It was a strange game,” said Rebels assistant coach Ryan Colville.
“The first period was really tight, not a lot of shots. Things really opened up in the second, I didn’t think we played very well. We got loose defensively. We responded pretty well in the third… when you put pucks on net (good) things happen.”
For the Raiders, it was an opportunity lost.
“Five goals is enough to win,” surmised Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid.
Rebels forward Arshdeep Bains scored the overtime winner on a great drive 2:45 into the extra frame, his second goal of the night and third point in the affair.
His line, along with Ben King and Chris Douglas combined for nine points in the victory. King was the second star with four assists.
“I thought the last couple games, they had taken a bit of a step back, they were making things a little too complicated, turning pucks over at the blueline,” Colville said.
“I thought (Tuesday), they got pucks behind their defence, they got after it. They turned pucks over on the forecheck and they got some zone time. A lot of their goals, they just threw pucks on net.”
Red Deer looked to be in deep trouble midway through the game, trailing Prince Albert 3-2 in the second period and getting outshot 18-5 in the middle frame.
They had just a 1-18-1 record this season when trailing after 40 minutes.
Something switched for the visitors early in the final 20 minutes, as Josh Tarzwell tipped home a point shot 56 seconds in.
Then Bains notched his 14th goal to give the Rebels the lead and Sakowich scored his eighth to open up a 5-3 advantage.
Just 2:12 after the Sakowich tally, Ilya Usau scored to cut the deficit and another 2:21 later, Justin Nachbaur tied the game at five.
Bains, the Rebels leading point producer, with 30 points in 38 games, made a great move and deked Keegan Karki to score his 15th of the year midway through overtime and completed the comeback.
“I got on and caught some flat-footed, tired D and was able to get wide and get a good scoring chance,” said Bains of the winner.
In the first, Jeremy Masella opened the scoring for the Raiders amid a rapid pace in the opening 20 minutes.
Red Deer evened the scored late in the second, on their second power play of the first period. Finnish blueliner Christoffer Sedoff buried a seeing-eye wrist shot with only 44 seconds left in the period.
The Raiders poured on the pressure in the second, adding another tally just 4:10 into the frame. Justin Nachbaur caught the Rebels napping and fired a cross-crease pass to Spencer Moe who notched his 16th of the season.
Despite the pressure, the Rebels held the fort and Chris Douglas buried on a breakaway 3:30 later. It was the ninth goal of the year for the 19-year-old winger.
Evan Herman restored the Prince Albert advantage just past the midway point of the second.
Red Deer escaped the period down one goal despite being outshot 18-5 in the frame and Tarzwell was able to drag them even early in the third.
Sakowich fired a shot on net 56 seconds into the period and Tarzwell managed to tip home his 19th of the year.
The goals came in bunches from there, with Red Deer scoring twice and the Raiders responding with a pair of their own forcing overtime.
“We sat back a little bit I thought. Obviously, the penalty doesn’t help,” said Colville, referring to a King holding minor that gave Prince Albert a power play where they tied the game.
“We have to be able to push the pace a little bit more when we have the lead. They turned it on a lot, too. Once they got down. With seven or eight minutes left, you can’t sit back with a two-goal lead.”
Ethan Anders also did just enough to help the Rebels earn the victory, turning aside 30 shots in the win. Karki made 18 saves in the loss for Prince Albert.
Wednesday the Rebels continue their road trip in Saskatoon against the Blades. Friday, they travel to Manitoba to take on the Brandon Wheat Kings and Saturday, Red Deer finishes the eastern trip with a date against the Winnipeg Ice.