The final game for the Red Deer Rebels before the Christmas break was certainly a fun one.
The Rebels battled hard against a tough opponent but came up just short in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Tri-City Americans at the Enmax Centrium.
“I was proud of the kids. They played hard and it was an entertaining game,” Rebels GM and head coach Brent Sutter said afterward.
Tri-City started strong and opened the scoring 4:12 into the game when Morgan Geekie netted his team leading 14th goal of the season.
Isaac Johnson made it 2-0 when he tapped home a power play tally 12:45 into the opening frame.
Reese Johnson got the Rebels on the board, with their first shot on goal, as his breakaway shot went off Tri-City goalie Beck Warm and in for his 11th goal of the year at the 14:11 mark.
Red Deer tied the game with 4.3 seconds left in the opening frame. Grayson Pawlenchuk fought off a check to make a great pass to Mason McCarty, who fired home his team leading 15th goal of the year. Despite being dominated for much of the period, the Rebels went to the first intermission tied 2-2.
Tri-City restored its two goal lead in period two with a pair of goals just over four minutes apart late in the frame from Carson Focht and Michael Rasmussen (on the power play).
McCarty pulled the Rebels within 4-3 at the 18:14 mark with his second goal of the game.
Red Deer battled hard in the third period as they pressed hard to tie the game. They would do so with just 2.7 seconds left as Pawlenchuk jammed home a rebound for goal number 12 on the year, bringing the 4132 fans at the Enmax Centrium to their feet and sending the game to overtime.
In the extra frame, the Rebels had a chance to take the extra point with a 4-on-3 power play but were unable to capitalize. Red Deer went 0-for-5 on the power play in this game.
Tri-City held on to send the game to a shootout where Geekie and Kyle Olson scored to give the Americans the victory.
“I thought both teams did a pretty good job defensively, too. You get down two and you battle back and tie it up. They get up two and then you score two to even it up again," said Sutter.
“We had our chances in overtime to win with a power play and when it gets to a shootout obviously anything can happen. But I was proud of the kids, they played hard here tonight. It was a heck of a game.”
The Americans went 2-for-4 on the power play and outshot the Rebels 30-29 on the night. Beck Warm picked up the win in net for Tri-City, outdueling Ethan Anders for the Rebels.
The Rebels now have an extended break before taking on the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Enmax Centrium on Dec. 27 at 7 p.m.
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