It happens sometimes that a hockey team sneaks out a win despite putting forth a less than stellar effort.
The Red Deer Rebels can attest to this as they came away with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Kootenay Ice, who were the superior team for much of Friday night’s game at the Enmax Centrium.
“We never really played all that well here tonight. In the first two periods we had a lot of turnovers, we were second on pucks and weren’t great in our own zone,” Rebels GM/head coach Sutter said afterward.
“Our neutral zone play tonight, we had a lot of turnovers. We’re fortunate enough to get a win and two points. We’ll take it. It wasn’t one of our better games in the last month.”
Alex Morozoff opened the scoring for Red Deer 8:30 into the opening period when he jammed home a loose puck for his sixth goal of the season, a power play tally.
Colton Kroeker tied the game for Kootenay when he beat Rebels goalie Riley Lamb at the 10:59 mark after Hunter Donohoe made a miscue with the puck.
Red Deer took a 2-1 lead 3:52 into period two when Mason McCarty fired home his team leading 35th goal of the year from just inside the hash marks.
Reese Johnson gave the Rebels a two goal lead when he zipped his 21st goal of the year past Kootenay goalie Matt Berlin.
Kootenay pulled back within a goal with 3:37 left in the middle frame courtesy of Michael King.
Colton Veloso tied the game for the Ice tied the game 3-3 with 4:31 left to play in the third period.
A mere 48 seconds later Chris Douglas put the Rebels back ahead 4-3 with his 9th goal of the year.
With their net empty and time ticking down Brett Davis tipped a point shot past Lamb with 58 seconds left to play to send the game to overtime.
Neither team was able to score in overtime. Mason McCarty scored the lone goal of the shootout to give Red Deer the extra point.
Kootenay outshot Red Deer by a substantial 31-17 margin but went 0/2 on the power play. The Rebels were 1/3 with the man advantage.
Red Deer now leads Kootenay by seven points for third place in the WHL Central Division. Their “Magic number” to clinch a playoff spot is now six (any combination of points earned by the Rebels and/or lost by the Ice).
The Rebels received some unfortunate news Thursday when they learned star Russian rearguard Alexander Alexeyev will be out of the lineup for up to six weeks after suffering a hand injury late in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime win over Calgary.
A busy weekend for the Rebels continues Saturday night when they visit the Medicine Hat Tigers.
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