The Red Deer Rebels were coming off back to back wins and looking for a third heading into their game with the Royals in Victoria Friday night and they did indeed leave with a big 4-3 victory on the island. It was game four of Red Deer’s six-game road trip this month which included stops in Edmonton, Prince George and Kelowna, with tilts in Vancouver and Calgary still to come before returning home.
In the first period, it was Victoria who eventually struck first when Matthew Phillips scored his 44th of the year, sneaking it through the five-hole of Rebel’s goalie Riley Lamb and continuing his 20-game point streak to put the Royals up 1-0 at 14:14 of the opening frame. Then with the period winding down and Red Deer on the power play, the Rebel’s Kristian Reichel scored his 25th of the season at 18:43 to tie it back up at 1-1 after twenty minutes of play.
The second period saw Red Deer take their first lead of the game when Mason McCarty went glove-side on Royal’s goalie Dean McNabb, scoring his 31st of the year at 9:56 to make it 2-1 Rebels. Soon afterwards, Red Deer added to their lead when Brandon Cutler scored his third of the season, an unassisted effort at 11:30, deking out Dean McNabb who went for the poke check on Cutler’s partial break-away to make it 3-1 Rebels.
Victoria answered Red Deer’s rally though when Kade Jensen notched his fifth goal of the year, unassisted and with only eight seconds left in the period, banking it off Rebel’s defenseman Colin Paradis to close Red Deer’s lead to 3-2 after forty.
The third period saw Victoria draw even again when former Rebel Lane Zablocki picked up his 13th of the season by sliding the puck underneath Riley Lamb at the 5:16 mark to make it 3-3. Red Deer regained the lead for good though when Chris Douglas went five-hole on Dean McNabb at 12:41 to score his sixth of the year to make it 4-3 Rebels. Despite a late game push with the Royals pulling their goalie and putting an extra skater on the ice with 1:08 left, Victoria came up short and Red Deer hung on for the hard fought 4-3 victory.
Shots on goal finished 36-27 in favour of Victoria, with the Royals going 1 for 3 on the power play and Red Deer going 1 for 4.
With the loss, Victoria drops to 34-21-3-2 with 73 points, while Red Deer improves to 20-26-10-3 with 53 points and fourth place in the WHL’s Central Division.
Red Deer’s road trip continues in Vancouver on Sunday when they battle the Giants for a 5:00 p.m. face-off at the Langley Events Centre.
You can catch all the action live on 106.7 The Drive.
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