Red Deer Rebels 3 – 4 Saskatoon Blades
The Red Deer Rebels (13-19-0-3) came into their game against the Saskatoon Blades (17-16-1-2) oozing confidence after a 6-3 win over WHL Western Conference leading Everett Silvertips.
The Blades, on the other hand, were looking to get back to .500 in 2020 after a 6-1 loss to the Winnipeg Ice.
The Rebels, who were playing their third of four games against Saskatoon (1-1-0-0) would capitalize first, after Arshdeep Bains beat Blades netminder Nolan Maier for his 12th goal of the year on the powerplay.
Red Deer would have little time to celebrate, however, as Saskatoon would quickly answer back with a powerplay goal of their own by Scott Walford.
The Rebels would manage to hold Saskatoon to only a goal, killing off a 53-second two-man-advantage in the process, keeping the score at 1-1 heading into the second period.
The Rebels would once again score first in the second; but the Blades would grab the lead with the following two goals to make it 3-2 heading into the second.
Blade Nolan Kneen would score his seventh on the powerplay and Kyle Crnkovic would add his ninth to put Saskatoon up.
Josh Tarzwell scored his 25th of the year for the lone goal of the period for the Rebels.
“It was kind of like we were two different teams. I wasn’t happy with the first half of the game. We took six minor penalties in the first 25 minutes of the game and that takes you out of your flow,” Rebels Coach Brent Sutter said.
The Rebels would find the equalizer in the third period when Bains notched his second of the game, setting up five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime.
“We were better in the third. We were really good because we played the right way,” Sutter said.
The Rebels would maintain possession for much of the overtime period but it would be the Blades who find the winner when a two-on-one opportunity turned into a goal by Chase Wouters.
The lone point would give thew Rebels 29 on the season, good for fifth place in the WHL Eastern Conference.
“We had to play hard for the last 20 to get a point tonight. It was that first half. We just can’t take that many penalties,” Sutter said.
Rebels netminder Byron stopped 22 shots in his 13st straight start; while Maier stopped 30 to pick up the win.
The Rebels play tomorrow night against the Moose Jaw Warriors on home ice. They will then hit the road for a five-game road trip starting in Prince Albert on Jan. 7.
“We’ll take the point, move on and get ready for tomorrow,” Sutter said.
The Blades will travel to Edmonton to take on the Oil Kings on Jan. 5.