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Resilient Rebels win Game 4 with last-second goal

They take a 3-1 series lead
Red Deer Rebels forward Jhett Larson moves the puck through the neutral zone against the Medicine Hat Tigers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday evening at the Peavey Mart Centrium. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Rebels 3

Tigers 2

For the third straight time in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Red Deer Rebels came up clutch when it mattered most.

Tied in the final minute the Rebels applied pressure hitting two posts in the process. But with 1.7 seconds left in the game forward Kalan Lind scored his second game-winning goal of the series off a pass through the crease from captain Kai Uchacz.

The goal secured a 3-2 victory in Game 4 at the Peavey Mart Centrium on Wednesday evening and more importantly, a 3-1 series lead.

“It’s awesome. It’s so exciting to win a game for the boys and see everyone so excited,” Lind said.

He explained he wasn’t aware how much time was on the clock but knew they didn’t have much time.

“I heard everyone chanting shoot and then I saw Uchacz and I thought he’s going to slide this to me quick. I just put it in as fast as I could. I knew we were getting close to the time.”

However, Lind’s goal didn’t come without controversy. The officiating staff sent it upstairs to review a high stick but ultimately ruled it a good goal.

“I was nervous. I was shaking in my boots at the bench,” Lind said. “I was like let’s just get this game over with. We’ve been in overtime two times but it was nice to win it out.”

With the win, the Rebels now have an opportunity to win the series on Friday night in Medicine Hat in Game 5 at Co-op Place.

In the first period, while killing off a four-minute penalty, Jhett Larson got the Rebels on the board while shorthanded near the midway point. The speedy forward was sent on a breakaway after forcing a turnover in the defensive end and fired it in the top corner.

With 8:18 to go in the opening period, the Tigers tied the game. Red Deer native Tyler MacKenzie buried a wrap-around opportunity.

In the second period, Rebels forward Carson Birnie ripped a wrist shot past Tigers goaltender Ethan McCallum off a drop pass from Samuel Drancak.

However, the Tigers scored less than a minute later off the stick of Hunter St. Martin who was fed from Oasiz Wiesblatt.

No one found the back of the net again until Lind sealed the game in the third period. Rebels goaltender Chase Wutzke also had a fantastic game in net with 33 saves.

Head coach Dave Struch said it was his team’s best game of the series.

“That was a little more what playoff hockey is supposed to be like,” he said. “For 60 minutes we did the right things. We continued to get better at doing those right things… I think back and forth it was a good playoff game.”

The Rebels’ veteran leadership and experience played a big role once again on Wednesday. When the going got tough the Rebels delivered in a big moment.

“We’ve talked about what we’ve done to train and prepare for this. We still hadn’t seen a real true playoff game from our group and for us to come out and play the right way in an important game like this it was relentless, resilient, and tenacious,” he said.

“It’s something we can build off of. We can be happy with the win but we can’t be satisfied moving forward.”

If the Tigers win on Friday, they’ll return to the Peavey Mart Centrium on Sunday for an afternoon tilt in Game 6.

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mats Lindgren fires the puck out of their zone after netminder Chase Wutzke made a save. (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.
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