REBELS GOAL - Mason McCarty blasted this roofer past Calgary Hitmen goalie Nick Schneider Wednesday night. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

Rebels score huge OT win over Hitmen

Red Deer looking ahead to Friday game against Kootenay

The Rebels added another win to their impressive month of February.

The surging Red Deer Rebels came in Wednesday’s contest in sole possession of third place in the WHL Eastern Conference Central Division with 57 points, four points ahead of the Kootenay Ice and 12 points ahead of the visiting Calgary Hitmen.

The Rebels were coming off a huge 5-3 win over the Swift Current Broncos and were 7-3 in their last 10 games.

On the other end, the Hitmen were coming off a 6-4 loss to the Broncos and were 2-8 in their last 10, but were looking to even up the season series against the Rebels — which sat at 2-1-1-1.

The Rebels would strike early and often in the first starting with Mason McCarty swooping down the right side and roofing his 34th goal of the season past Hitmen goaltender Nick Schneider.

Red Deer would follow that up with a huge powerplay goal by Chris Douglas, his eighth of the year, after he crashed into the Calgary net, starting after Hitmen Dakota Krebs cross-checked Brandon Hagel into the boards.

“He played well,” Rebels Coach Brent Sutter said. “I thought that line played well. It was an energy line for us and they spent a lot of time in the offensive zone.”

The Rebels would head into the second with a confident 2-0 lead.

The Hitmen would answer back in the second period after Riley Stotts scored an unassisted goal past Rebels goaltender Ethan Anders just over five minutes in.

The two teams would play the rest of the frame fairly even, except for the Rebels leading in shots 27-13, before heading into the locker room to rest up for the final frame.

The Hitmen, despite being way behind in the shot department, would continue to press the issue, tying up the game with just under five remaining on Conner Chaulk’s 15th of the season.

Chaulk’s goal would send the game to overtime, with Red Deer being unable to capitalize in regulation.

“They made a good play on their tying goal,” Sutter said.

The Rebels would get a five-alarm chance in overtime after Hitmen Vladislav Yeryomenko went to the box after he tripped Hagel on a odd-man break.

Reese Johnson would score on the ensuing powerplay to put the game away for the Rebels 3-2.

“We had a four on three so I carried it in,” Johnson said. “I was yelling to Pawley (Grayson Pawlenchuk) to pass. He made an awesome pass.”

Sutter said it was a hard fought game for his team.

“There was a lot of opportunities offensively. We just didn’t bury our chances,” he said.

He added points are big at this time of year.

The Rebels now look forward to a huge game against Kootenay at home on Friday.

“This was a great win in the end but there is still some things we could have done better. We have to prepare for Friday. We have a big four-point game,” Johnson said.

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

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