In one of the most improbable comebacks you’ll ever see, the Red Deer Rebels pulled out a stunning 5-4 shootout victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the Enmax Centrium Wednesday night.
The Rebels were trailing by two goals with less than two minutes left to play before pulling out the stunning victory.
Former Rebels first round WHL Bantam Draft pick Jake Leschyshyn opened the scoring for Lethbridge 3:48 into the game with his 25th goal of the season.
Calen Addison made it 2-0 Lethbridge at the 10:12 mark before Jeff de Wit replied 46 seconds later for Red Deer with his 21st goal of the year past new Hurricanes goalie Liam Hughes, acquired on Monday from Seattle.
Top NHL Draft prospect Dylan Cozens gave the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead just 51 seconds into period two.
Zak Smith beat out an icing call and set up Brandon Hagel for his 22nd goal of the year and team leading 54th point. The Rebels were within 3-2 with 2:52 left in period two.
Red Deer came out hard in the third and put together a series of solid shifts but were unable to draw even. When Taylor Ross scored a wraparound goal 6:59 into the final period to make it a 4-2 game it seemed like the Rebels were done for.
But the Rebels kept pressing and caught a much-needed lucky break when Lethbridge defender Ty Prefontaine fired the puck into his own net. Reese Johnson got credit for his 17th goal of the year with 1:55 left to play.
Then with 6.6 seconds left to play, Anders on the bench and the Rebels on a power play, Hagel fired a shot from the corner that deflected off of Cameron Hausinger’s leg and in for an improbable game-tying goal.
“I for sure thought it was over,” Hausinger said of the moments leading up to the goal. “(Dawson) Barteaux made a good rush and (Hagel) just threw it at the net. It hit my thigh.
“(It’s) just nice to be able to go to the net. Obviously, it’s not me that got the goal, it’s all six guys on the ice that made a good effort.”
Neither team managed to score during the 3-on-3 overtime period.
With the shootout tied 1-1 Cozens rang a shot off the crossbar opening the door for the Rebels to win it. Cameron Hausinger did just that, firing a shot past Hughes for the game clincher – his second-straight shootout winner.
Lethbridge outshot Red Deer 32-30 on the night and was 0-for-2 on the power play while the Rebels were 1-for-4.
“We battled. (It was) certainly far from a mistake-free game,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said. “We didn’t quit and we stayed with it (and) stayed positive on the bench. Even the last two and a half minutes, we just found a way to get the one goal to make it 4-3, a break.
“You get those. You earn those then the power play, just throw the puck on net and something good came out of it.”
The Rebels are back in action Friday night when they visit the Calgary Hitmen (7 p.m. on 106.7 THE DRIVE). Saturday night the Rebels host the Victoria Royals at the Enmax Centrium.
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