Rebels 7 Americans 5
The night started and ended with fireworks of a unique variety Saturday night.
Three goals on the first three shots and four fighting majors with five seconds to play bookended the excitement as the Red Deer Rebels hosted the Tri-City Americans in WHL action.
In between, goals. All the goals for the over 5,106 fans at the Centrium.
“It was a little bit of a runaway game, high scoring. But a really big goal by our power play at the end. Just nice to pull through,” said Rebels centre Chris Douglas, who was first star with a goal and three assists in the 7-5 Red Deer win.
That goal he referenced was courtesy of Rebels centre Ben King, who scored two monster goals in the victory. His first came with just 0.8 seconds left in the second period, a power-play tally that put the Rebels ahead 5-4.
His second, the eventual game-winner went in with 1:38 to go, a one-timer on the power play off a glorious feed from Arshdeep Bains.
Josh Tarzwell extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with an empty-net goal, his 28th of the year with 34 seconds to play.
“Lots of goals,” quipped Red Deer Rebels head coach Brent Sutter.
“A lot of goals that I think all three goalies would like to have back. We found a way. You get a power play that you capitalize on at the end of the game. Listen, at the end of the day, it’s nice to score a bunch of goals and stuff like that and nice to get the offence going.”
In the beginning, it was a disaster while the ice was still dry for the Rebels. Just 17 seconds into the contest, Jadon Joseph fired an innocent shot from the corner that ricocheted in on Byron Fancy.
Fancy allowed the second goal of the game 40 seconds later, eight seconds into a Tri-City power play and his night was done. Ethan Anders entered the game and stopped all six shots he faced in the first.
The goalie swap was the spark the home side needed, as Chris Douglas woke the big crowd up with his 12th tally of the campaign 23 seconds after the Americans made it 2-0.
Red Deer kept pouring it on and Jaxsen Wiebe snipped off the rush with 12:02 to go in the period and tied the game.
“I wasn’t happy with being down 2-0 in the first minute of the game and you have no choice but to pull your goalie at that point. Try to get something else going,” Sutter said.
“It worked for us. Our goaltending has got to be better and we need to tighten up in certain areas.”
Late in the period, defenceman Christoffer Sedoff got in on the action with his fifth goal of the year. He wired a seeing-eye point shot past Talyn Boyko to give Red Deer a 3-2 advantage and Kyle Masters made it 4-2 on the power play early in the second.
Back-to-back power play tallies from Americans sniper Sasha Mutala in the second tied the game at four, before King buried with no time left in the second.
With Red Deer looking to close out the lead, Anders had his pocket picked by Booker Daniel who tied the game at five with 11:18 to go.
That set up the King power-play goal to win it late.
On a whistle with five seconds to play, Dallon Melin and Joel Sexsmith each squared off with Tri-City players and earned fight majors for their troubles.
Both teams had big nights on the power play, with the Rebels going three-for-six and the Americans finishing the night 3-for-7.
Anders earned the win for Red Deer in net with 18 saves.
Saturday was also the first time the Rebels have beat the Americans since Jan. 27, 2012, a run of seven games.
The Rebels are back on home ice Feb. 28 against the Winnipeg ICE.