To quote Terry and Deaner of Fubar movie and TV fame, sometimes you need to go to Plan B and “Just Give'r” in order to succeed.
That’s exactly what the Red Deer Rebels did Wednesday night as they laid it all on the line to earn a 5-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the Enmax Centrium and keep their season alive.
Lethbridge now leads the opening round WHL playoff series 3-1 with game five set for Saturday down in the windy city.
“We did a lot of good things and had certain individuals play better tonight. Our team game was better and wasn’t as loose as it was last night,” Rebels GM and head coach Brent Sutter said following the game. “We capitalized on some opportunities and got some key saves.”
The home team came out playing like a team desperate to keep their season going and would open the scoring 7:33 into period one on Reese Johnson’s first goal of the playoffs.
Lethbridge evened the score with 40 seconds left in the opening period as Matthew Stanley banked in a shot from a sharp angle off of Rebels goalie Ethan Anders, who was making his second start of the series.
The Hurricanes took a 2-1 lead 15:17 into period two when Tate Olson went bar down with a sizzling shot past Anders.
Just 58 seconds later, however, Mason McCarty tied the game with his first ever WHL playoff goal, set up neatly by Johnson.
With a power play to open the third period, Brandon Hagel put home a loose puck to give the Rebels their second lead of the game with his fourth goal of the series at the 38-second mark.
After his teammates held the lethal Lethbridge power play at bay, Alexander Alexeyev sprung out from the penalty box, raced in and deked out Logan Flodell for a spectacular breakaway goal. With 8:21 left to play the Rebels led 4-2.
Kristian Reichel sealed the deal with a shorthanded empty net goal in the final minute, saluting the crowd as they celebrated a big win.
Red Deer outshot Lethbridge 36-30 and won the special teams battle, scoring a power play and shorthanded goal while holding the Hurricanes power play to 0/4 on the night.
“We needed push back from everyone and it has been awesome these two games at home. We have to carry that into Saturday,” said Johnson, whose sentiments were echoed by Sutter.
“The two games we played here were much better than the two games we played there. We have to carry that on, go in there and see what happens.”
Game five of the series goes Saturday night in Lethbridge at 7 p.m. (6:50 pregame show on 106.7 The Drive).
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