The Red Deer Rebels rolled into Wednesday’s matchup against the Calgary Hitmen after having collected points in seven of their last eight games.
The Rebels were also hungry for a win after having an overtime game-winning being called back in Brandon against the Wheat Kings.
The Hitmen, on the other hand, were thirsty for a win after having only won three of their last 10 games.
The score would be all tied after a spooky first period that saw the arena lights switching on and off, the public announcement system working intermittently and the fire alarm going off after a Rebel goal by Mason McCarty — his team leading 27th of the season.
Hitmen Connor Chaulk would score the lone Calgary goal on a redirect and the teams would head into the lockeroom notched up at one a piece.
The night continued to be a weird one at the Enmax Centrium, with mechanical issues continuing throughout the second period.
It would take two powerplay chances for the Rebels to grab their first lead of the game when Chris Douglas launched his fifth of the season.
The lead would be short-lived though after Tristen Nielsen scored a short-handed goal that only he knew was in. The referees would go upstairs to confirm that he did indeed tie up the score at two.
The game would head into the final frame with plenty of game to sort out on a night that anything could happen.
The third period would roll by with few chances coming for either side.
Ethan Anders, who made 28 stops in regulation, came up with his biggest of the night when he got the pad out to keep the game tied.
The game would head to overtime, with the Rebels hoping for a better result then their previous affair in Brandon.
Overtime would once again solve nothing for either squad.
Anders would make a five-bell stop on Mark Kasteli to keep the game going, but Hitmen netminder Nick Schneider would make a highlight reel save of his own on Brandon Hagel.
“We did a good a job with overtime. I thought our focus was better and we handled our man to man better,” Coach Brent Sutter said.
The teams would head to the shootout, where their fates would be determined.
Reichel would lead off first for the home squad. Amazingly, his goal went off the left post — off Schneider’s back — and then in for the huge first shootout goal.
“We got a break. There is no question,” Sutter said. “It was certainly a lucky goal but sometimes you get your luck. You earn it. Maybe the last couple weeks we have earned some luck here and there.”
Hitmen Jake Krysti and Carson Focht, as well as McCarty and Hagel would be unable to score leading to the final Hitmen shooter.
Anders would make the huge save on Jakob Stukel for a huge shootout win.
“It wasn’t beautiful but it was two big points. We found a way to get points and that is important. It is nice to get rewarded in the shootout — there were certainly chances on both ends and both goalies made some good saves,” Sutter said.
The Rebels head into their Friday home game against Edmonton having won eight of their last nine games.
The Rebels will also have their number one defenceman Alexander Alexeyev, who is returning from Russia, to help anchor their powerplay against their QEII rival.