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Rebels Roar Back from Three Goals Down to Record OT Win over Hitmen

December 6, 2021 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Red Deer Rebels News Release

Red Deer Rebels battle the Calgary Hitmen
Red Deer Rebels battle the Calgary Hitmen
(Red Deer Rebels)

Call it a character win.

The Red Deer Rebels spotted the Calgary Hitmen a three-goal lead Sunday afternoon at the Peavey Mart Centrium, then battled back to snatch a 4-3 overtime victory in front of 2,938 fans.

"We got a good group here. We don't quit," said overtime marksman Kai Uchacz. "To get down 3-0 and then come back to win in overtime and get the two points is huge."

Arshdeep Bains played the puck off the boards and up ice to Uchacz, who had enough momentum to cut behind a Hitmen defender at the blueline, break to the net from the right side and beat goalie Ethan Buenaventura through the five-hole.

The play came just a short time after Rebels goalie Connor Ungar made a timely stop.

"As soon as I saw him [Bains) get the puck I just tried to get up ice as quick as I could," said Uchacz. "I cut him [Calgary defenceman) off, but not by much. I just kind of threw it to the net, thought he might have the five-hole open and it just snuck through.

"A great save by our goalie, then a great play by Bains . . . couldn't have done it without them."

The Rebels had the upper hand in back and forth play in the opening period, but went to the intermission down a goal.

Sean Tschigerl pulled the trigger for the visitors, burying a rebound off the post with the Hitmen on the power play.

The game appeared to get away from the Rebels in the first six minutes and change of the second period as the Hitmen struck twice.

Cael Zimmerman scored three minutes into the frame, beating Ungar from the right circle, and Anton Yatsyshin made it 3-0 when he banged home a behind-the-net feed from Blake Allan.

The Rebels, to their credit, refused to fade and got back into the contest just over two minutes later when Jhett Larson fired into a gaping net during a goalmouth scramble.

Bains then made it a one-goal deficit at the 12:27 mark, scoring on a power play breakaway.

The home side carried the momentum into the third period and outshot their guest 12-2 over the 20 minutes.

Jace Isley notched the only goal of the frame, firing the puck between the pads of Buenaventura after taking advantage of a break at the blueline, setting the stage for overtime and the winning goal.

"It was fun to be part of that and on the bench for that one, maybe not in the first five minutes of the second period," said Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk.

"We came out and played the way we needed to in the first period. I was a little surprised that we were in the situation we were in, down 3-0.

"But our guys ramped it up. They played hard and they played with determination. They didn't want to be denied and I'm definitely proud of our group."

What made the comeback victory even more impressive was the fact the Rebels were without No. 1 defenceman Christoffer Sedoff - who suffered a lower body injury in the previous game and is listed as day-to-day - and for roughly half of Sunday's game top sniper Ben King, who was issued a game misconduct in the second period. No reason was given for the misconduct.

"You have to win different ways. You're going to hit some adversity through the season or throughout a game," said Konowalchuk. "Guys get opportunities to play, to go out there and show what you can do. And guys did that."

Notable: Ungar made 21 saves while Buenaventura stopped 29 shots . . . Both teams were one-for-four on the power play . . . Uchacz was recognized prior to the game as the winner of the Rob Rae Clothiers plus-minus award for the month of November . . . The Rebels return to action Friday against the Hurricanes at Lethbridge, then host the Medicine Hat Tigers the following night.

Images from this story

Red Deer Rebels battle the Calgary Hitmen
Red Deer Rebels battle the Calgary Hitmen


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