The final Rebels home game before their Two surly teams took to the ice for this one. The Rebels sought to rebound from a 3-1 home ice loss one night earlier to Kelowna. The Hitmen were drilled 10-1 at home by Medicine Hat.
It didn’t take long for the gasoline to get poured onto the fire as Josh Thrower would drill Wyatt Johnson into the boards away from the play. Marc McCoy took offense and dropped the mitts with Thrower for a spirited tilt. The sequence definitely got both teams, and the fans into the stands, emotionally charged up.The Rebels opened the scoring in a rather unlikely way. As he was heading to the Rebels bench on a line chance, Brady Gaudet fired a long shot from the centre ice red line. Hitmen goalie Chris Driedger couldn’t handle the shot, giving Gaudet his first goal of the season and first as a Rebel. As Cam Moon proclaimed “It’s been a long time since there’s been a goal scored here from the parking lot!” 1-0 Rebels 4:20 into the game.
Both goaltenders played outstanding between the pipes in the opening period. Driedger responded well after allowing the 100-footer from Gaudet to make a number of great saves, including on Turner Elson from in close. At the other end, Patrik Bartosak was equally as solid in holding the Hitmen at bay. The Rebels would take their 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission.
Calgary wasted little time tying this game in the middle frame. Zane Jones, made a great play to split the Rebels D and sneak the puck through Bartosak’s five hole for his sixth goal of the season. Pavlo Padakin and Alex Roach with the assists. Patrik Bartosak then did a remarkable job of shutting the door on the Hitmen for the rest of the period. Calgary outshot Red Deer 17-6 in the second period but managed just the one goal. 1-1 would be the score heading to the third period.
The Hitmen finally broke through to take their first lead of the game early in third period while on the powerplay. Bartosak made the initial save on Greg Chase’s point shot. But Rebels killer Cody Sylvester was camped out all by himself just outside the crease. Sylvester buried it for his 13th goal of the season and his 6th in four games versus the Rebels. It was also Sylvester’s WHL leading 8th powerplay goal. 2-1 Calgary at the 2:15 mark.
But Calgary’s lead was short lived. Wyatt Johnson, playing in his second game with the Rebels, brought the puck into Hitmen territory and slid a beautiful pass over to Turner Elson. The Rebels captain fired low and beat Driedger for his third goal on the year. That made the score 2-2 at the 5:51 mark, setting the stage for a thrilling finish to this game. After the clock mysteriously went blank for a couple of minutes, blame it on Halloween weekend, the Hitmen regained their one goal lead thanks to star rookie Jake Virtanen. He jammed home a beauty wraparound goal for his fourth goal of the season. 3-2 Calgary with 6:22 remaining.
Cue the captain, again. Turner Elson struck for his second goal of the night just over a minute after the Virtanen goal at the 14:15 mark. Mathew Dumba and Joel Hamilton with the assists. 3-3 was the score at that point. Neither team would score again before the end of the period. Overtime beckoned. Rebels outshot Calgary 17-6 in the third.
Some close calls at both ends of the rink but no scoring. The winning team in this thrilling tilt would end up being determined in a shootout.
After Connor Bleackley and Brooks Macek each scored in the second round, the goalies shut the doors rather effectively. The Rebels seventh shooter, Brady Gaudet, gave the home side the lead. Elliott Peterson then had to score on Patrik Bartosak to keep his team alive but could not do so. The Rebels pulled out an exciting 4-3 shootout win over the Calgary Hitmen.
MOLSON CUP THREE STARS
1. Turner Elson RD
2. Zane Jones CGY
3. Brady Gaudet RD
HARDEST WORKING REBEL – Wyatt Johnson
NEXT GAME… The Rebels hit the road for Agritrade as they take on the Spokane Chiefs next Friday, November 2nd. Game time is 8pm. Cam Moon has the broadcast on 106.7 The Drive starting at 7:50pm.
By Troy Gillard