The Red Deer Rebels have pulled even with the Kootenay Ice for the final playoff spot in the WHL Central Division.
Despite being outshot 37-18 Wednesday night in Kelowna, the Rebels pulled out a 3-1 victory over the Rockets and are tied with Kootenay with 51 points on the season.
The Ice fell 3-2 Wednesday night to the Saskatoon Blades. Kootenay has 24 wins this season compared to Red Deer’s 19. Kootenay and Red Deer each have 14 games remaining.
Goaltender Riley Lamb was undoubtedly the star of the show Wednesday. He came into the game fresh off of posting his first shutout of the season Monday in Prince George, and carried that hot play into Kelowna. The Rockets dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Rebels 26-8 through 40 minutes, but the game remained scoreless.
In the third period, Josh Tarzwell gave Red Deer a sudden 1-0 lead with his eighth goal of the season at the 2:19 mark.
Kyle Topping evened things up for Kelowna with a power play tally at the 10:10 mark, ending Riley Lamb’s impressive shutout streak at 120 minutes, eight seconds.
The tie didn’t last long as Brandon Hagel went top shelf on Rockets goalie at 11:08 for a breakaway goal, his 10th goal of the season.
The Rebels pulled ahead 3-1 when a shot from Dawson Barteaux glanced off of Reese Johnson and in for Johnson’s 19th goal of the season.
Mason McCarty sealed the deal with an empty net goal with a minute left to play, McCarty’s 30th goal of the season.
Red Deer was 1/2 on the power play while holding Kelowna to 1/6.
The Rockets fell to 20-6-0-1 at home as the Rebels won in Kelowna for the first time since 2011.
Next up for the Rebels is a Friday night date with the Victoria Royals (8:05 p.m. on 106.7 The Drive). The Rebels will also visit the Vancouver Giants on Sunday and the Calgary Hitmen on Wednesday to round out their road trip.
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