The Red Deer Rebels wrapped up three games in three nights with a shocking 6-2 loss in Calgary against the Hitmen on Sunday night. The defeat was a bitter pill to swallow to say the least as the Rebels gave up six unanswered goals, including an empty-netter in the third period after leading 2-0 after forty minutes.
The first period saw Red Deer get on the board first when Brandon Hagel took a pass from Grayson Pawlenchuk on his backhand, then switched to his forehand and put it upstairs on Calgary goalie Matthew Armitage to make it 1-0 for the visitors. It was Hagel’s 13th goal of the season and came on the power play at 5:41 of the opening frame.
In the second, Red Deer added to their lead when Reese Johnson came down the right wing and roofed it on Hitmen net minder Matthew Armitage to make it 2-0 Rebels. The goal was Johnson’s 22nd of the year and came at the 11:02 mark of the second period.
In the third period, Calgary finally put themselves on the board when Riley Stotts blasted a one-timer off the right wing past Rebel’s goalie Ethan Anders to close the gap to 2-1 Red Deer. It was Stotts 16th goal of the season and came on the power play at 5:41 following a holding penalty to the Rebels’s Brandon Hagel.
Then just 47 seconds later, the Hitmen struck again when Mark Kastelic lit the lamp at 6:28 to tie it up at 2-2, his 17th goal of the year and forcing Rebel’s coach Brent Sutter to call a time-out in hopes of settling things down to get back on track.
Unfortunately however, the Hitmen were soon able to create their first lead of the game when Dakota Krebs shot from the right-side point and saw it go in on a possible deflection past Ethan Anders to give Calgary a 3-2 lead. It was Krebs fourth of the season and came at the 11:42 mark of the final frame.
The Hitmen weren’t done though as just 1:47 later, Jakob Stukel scored his 33rd of the year off a shot from the right wing and put his team up 4-2 in a shocking turn of events.
Then with the game winding down, the Rebels pulled Ethan Anders from the net with 2:33 left to play but it eventually resulted in Calgary’s Jakob Stukel picking up his second goal of the night and 34th of the season at 19:32 to make it 5-2 Hitmen.
That led Red Deer to put Anders back in the net but the Hitmen weren’t finished, scoring once more with 14 seconds left to make it a stunning 6-2 final. That final goal coming from Zach Huber who blasted one from the slot, earning his second goal of the year.
Shots on goal finished 40-32 in favour of Calgary, with the Hitmen going 1 for 5 on the power play and the Rebels going 1 for 3 on the power play.
The win improves the Hitmen’s record to 20-35-8-2 with 48 points and fifth place in the WHL’s Central Division. The loss drops Red Deer’s record to 24-30-10-3 with 61 points and third in the Central.
The Rebels next game is now Friday, March 9 when they visit the Hurricanes in Lethbridge for a 7 p.m. face-off.
You can catch all the action live on 106.7 The Drive starting with the pre-game show at 6:50 p.m.
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