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Thrilling Third-Period Rally Lifts Rebels over Top-Ranked Ice

February 20, 2022 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Red Deer Rebels News Release

Red Deer Rebels left wing Arshdeep Bains (right) battles the Winnipeg ICE
Red Deer Rebels left wing Arshdeep Bains (right) battles the Winnipeg ICE
(Red Deer Rebels)

It was, quite simply, the Red Deer Rebels' biggest win of the Western Hockey League season.

It was certainly their most impressive victory, considering the opposition and the manner in which they pulled it off.

Down two goals to the No. 1 team in the CHL, the Rebels fired three unanswered in the third period Saturday to post a thrilling 3-2 triumph over the Winnipeg Ice before a raucous gathering of 4,002 at the Peavey Mart Centrium.

"The guys played hard right from the start. They didn't get frustrated and they could have," said Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk, whose club surrendered a pair of power play goals, one in each of the first two periods.

"They went out and played the way the needed to play as individuals and not worry about the name on the other jersey. They just kept sticking with it. All of our guys battled real hard and deserved the win and good for them."

The Rebels played the visitors even up at even strength, but penalties led to a pair of Winnipeg goals. Zachary Benson buried a behind-the-net feed from Mikey Milne in the opening frame and Jack Finley redirected a pass from Matthew Savoie while stationed at the side of the crease in the second period.

"The biggest thing was the penalties. There was a lot of penalty killing time," said Konowalchuk.

"Five on five, right from the start we were establishing a forecheck, we were playing the way we needed to. We just couldn't get out of our own way with the penalties."

Ben King got the Rebels on the comeback trail early in the third period, cashing a cross-crease offering from Arshdeep Bains, then Dallon Melin buried a rebound just under seven minutes later.

"That first goal gave us some jump," said Konowalchuk, who also had words of praise for Melin.

King then potted the eventual winner at the 11:07 mark, again converting a dish from Bains. As he starting circling the net, King banked the puck off the skate of netminder Alexander Gage and in.

"We talked about getting pucks on net," said King, whose winner was his league-leading 37th goal of the season. "Arsh made a nice slide play down to me. I was kind of running out of room so I thought I might as well try and bank it off him and as luck would have it it went in.

"That's a top team in the league. We came in ready to play and just wanted to play our game. We got pucks deep and got in on the forecheck. We're excited in there (locker room) and we just have to keep going and moving forward the rest of the year."

The Ice were two-for-seven on the power play but came up empty with a chance to all but nail down the win, when, with a 2-1 lead, they failed to score on an extended man-advantage situation when Kalan Lind was assessed a spearing major. It was a three-minute power play as Milne was handed a roughing minor at the same time.

"That was a big kill. Overall the penalty killers did a good job with the amount of penalties we took," said Konowalchuk, who didn't find fault with a single player.

"Everyone played hard and we battled, the whole team," he said.

The win was the Rebels' second in as many nights, coming on the heels of Friday's 5-3 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades, which snapped a two-game losing streak that included a 4-0 shutout loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Feb. 11.

"Last week against Edmonton we didn't play our game and we were unhappy," said King. "This weekend we got two wins over two top teams.

"We wanted to show we're a top team in this league too so we came out and had two good games. We're happy with the results."

Notable: With a pair of assists, Bains moved back into top spot in the WHL scoring race with 71 points, one more than Kyle Crnkovic of the Blades, who was held pointless in a 9-1 loss at Edmonton . . . Chase Coward was sharp in the Rebels net. He and Gage both finished with 22 saves. Included among Gage's saves were breakaway stops on Bains and King in the first and second periods . . . The three stars: (1) King, (2) Finley and (3) Bains . . . The Rebels are idle until next weekend when they host the Prince Albert Raiders and Regina Pats Friday and Saturday. Red Deer will then venture out east for games March first, second, fourth and fifth against Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Regina and Saskatoon.

Images from this story

Red Deer Rebels left wing Arshdeep Bains (right) battles the Winnipeg ICE
Red Deer Rebels left wing Arshdeep Bains (right) battles the Winnipeg ICE


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