The Regina Pats never led in Friday night's game against the Red Deer Rebels, yet they still wound up earning two points and the win.
Coming in, Red Deer had won both match-ups against Regina this season, one each on the road and at home, including a 9-4 victory in which Brandon Hagel scored a hat trick.
Regina, winners of just two of their last 10 games, were a prime target for a Rebels team that had lost three in a row while giving up 15 goals in the process, and were in dire need of some traction as other Central Division teams have moved past them in the standings.
Ahead of the game, Red Deer sat tied with Calgary at 59 points with both filling the Eastern Conference's two wild card spots.
Red Deer got on the board first Friday, finally finding the net just 1:35 into the second period. It was Cameron Hausinger ripping his 17th past Max Paddock.
Alexander Alexeyev got an assist to make his return appearance a fruitful one, while the other helper went to goaltender Ethan Anders.
Just 1:04 later, Ty Kolle equalized on the powerplay with his 12th. For Kolle, it was his 4th straight goal for Regina after getting a hat trick Wednesday in Calgary.
At 10:14, Red Deer regained the lead on a historic goal. It was Brett Davis with his 16th, with Brandon Hagel earning the assist -- his 161st career apple -- which ties him for most all-time in Rebels history with Arron Asham. Hagel needed 20 fewer games to reach the mark.
But once again, the lead didn't last long as Logan Nijhoff potted his 4th at 15:24 to send the teams tied 2-2 heading to the final frame.
In the third, Red Deer poured it on, but Paddock was equal to the test stopping 17 shots. Meanwhile, his team had just two attempts on Anders.
In overtime, it was Hagel taking an untimely hooking minor -- his second of the game -- and the Pats had a chance to win it with less than a minute gone in the extra period.
With three seconds left in the penalty, they found what they were looking for -- the game winner.
Ryker Evans, a 2016 Bantam Draft pick from Calgary, scored his first career WHL goal to give the visitors the win.
"That team plays hard. I thought in the third period we made a good push, but their goalie made a couple big saves, then the bad penalty by Hags in overtime, and again, they got two powerplay goals on us tonight; our penalty killing the last two or three weeks hasn’t been very good," said Head Coach Brent Sutter post-game.
"We had some chances and didn’t capitalize. What else do you say? We've got to find ways to get points. We’ll take the point and move on, but still, we need better from some guys. I thought some guys got better as the game went on and some didn’t."
On Alexeyev's return, Sutter added it was obvious the impact he had being back.
"It puts everybody where they should be on the back end. Obviously he’s one of our top players," the coach remarked. "He shoots the puck, and he knows when to shoot it, and when not to."
Red Deer plays the Pats once more this season on February 27 in Regina.
Following the night's action, Edmonton -- who was idle Friday -- sits atop the Central with 66 points. Medicine Hat and Lethbridge each have 64, Red Deer has 60, and Calgary has 59. Brandon, which is the only other team in the race, has 53.
Next up for the Rebels is a game against the 29-13-6-2 Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday at the Westerner Park Centrium. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. and the broadcast can be heard LIVE on 106.7 The Drive starting at 6:30.
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