An exciting affair on Saturday night at the Centrium between the Red Deer Rebels and Victoria Royals unfortunately ended in defeat for the home side.
Red Deer led early, came back in the third, but ultimately dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the BC Division’s 2nd place team.
“It was a good game, a hard fought game,” coach Brent Sutter remarked post-game. “Both goalies were really good. At the end of the night, you have powerplays and chances, but you don’t capitalize, and we gave up a shorthanded goal. Overall, I was certainly happy with our compete level.”
Red Deer went 0/4 on the powerplay while giving up a second period shorty. Victoria went 0/5 with the man advantage.
In the first period, Red Deer drew first blood, as Oleg Zaytsev netted his 7th goal of the season at 14:13.
In the second, Victoria’s Jameson Murray would get his 1st of the season and as a Royal to equalize at 7:12.
Moments later, Kody McDonald and Rebel Cameron Hausinger dropped the gloves in what was a spirited, but short bout.
Kaid Oliver, the Royals’ leading scorer after the team dealt now former captain Dante Hannoun earlier this week to PA, gave his team the lead just under three minutes later.
For Oliver, it was his 18th, and it came shorthanded. Tarun Fizer came across the blueline with a partial breakaway, but had to pull up before dishing it to Oliver who was all alone in front of the net.
It was 2-1 Royals after 40 minutes.
In the final period of regulation, Brett Davis would tie it up at 2-2 just 19 seconds in. The goal was Davis’s 12th of the season, and 5th in 11 games since being traded by Kootenay to Red Deer. He now has 11 points in as many games with the Rebels.
With both goalies standing on their heads for the rest of the third period and through five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime, the game went to a shootout tied at two goals apiece.
In the breakaway contest, each team scored once through the first three shooters.
Kaid Oliver then put it over the net to start the fourth round, with Byron Fancy getting a piece of it. Rebels captain Reese Johnson then had a chance to ice it, but he was stopped by the glove of Griffen Outhouse.
Next up was Kody McDonald, who was part of the Hannoun trade, and he made no mistake to give Victoria the edge in the fifth round of the shootout. Oleg Zaytsev needed to score to keep things going, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
For Red Deer, it was their third loss in four games, and second in as many nights after losing to Calgary Friday. With the single point, the Rebels are now tied for third in the Central Division with Medicine Hat at 47 points; Edmonton has 49 and Lethbridge has 48.
Fancy, who perhaps deserved a better fate in seeking his first win since Nov. 11, made 34 saves in a stellar performance by the back-up.
“He played really well. We need that from our goalies,” Sutter added. “From here on in, we need to have really good goaltending. He hadn’t played in a bit, but he got in tonight and was rock solid.”
Fancy was also pleased with the team’s effort.
“It was great to see the guys playing like that in front of me. I thought our work ethic was back,” he stated. “I’ve been working hard in practice just showing I’m ready to be back in the line-up. I’ve just been feeling really good in practices and that carries over to games.”
For now, Fancy’s record sits at 2-4-0-1. The netminder was given first star honours for his performance on Saturday.
Next up for Red Deer is a road date with the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The broadcast can be heard LIVE on 106.7 The Drive starting at 5:50.
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