Rebels win overtime thriller over Wheat Kings
In the second, it was Brandon who broke the goalless tie at 4:34 when Nolan Ritchie scored a between-the-legs shot from the top of the crease and smashed an outstretched Rhett Stoesser and Brandon made it 1-0. It was Ritchie’s 16th goal of the season, with Quinn Mantei and Kayden Sadhr-Kang providing assists for the game.
The period ended with the Wheat Kings leading 1-0 and Brandon surpassing the Rebels 12-11 for a 22-21 overall for the visitors.
Then, with the Rebels still not scoring at 4:50 of the third period, Red Deer’s Kai Uchacz took it upon himself to cheer on his team and the crowd at the Peavey Mart Centrum as he dropped the gloves in a fun fight against Brandon’s Luke Shipley let , inject some adrenaline into the building and set the stage for a dramatic ending.
Red Deer’s Kalan Lind also had to stumble before the whistle, giving the Wheat Kings the man advantage, but Rebels Rhett Stoesser made some key saves to keep the puck off the net and his team within striking distance.
And the Rebels struck when captain Jayden Grubbe scored his 12th goal of the season on the power play with 2:09 left in game three, with a beautiful tip after a pass from Kai Uchacz to level the game by 2. 2. Christoffer Sedoff was also credited with an assist for the game after missing a penalty shot on Brandon’s Anthony Wilson.
It was a tie at 60 minutes as Brandon defeated Red Deer 11-7 in the final 20 minutes, resulting in a three-period aggregate of 33-28 in favor of the Wheat Kings.
Then, in five-minute three-on-three overtime, it took just 39 seconds for the Rebels to claim the win when Kalan Lind wedged a bouncing puck into the crease and put it behind Brandon’s goalie Nicholas Jones for tension make final score 2:1 after extra time.
Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk admits his team wasn’t as strong as he wanted, but when the game was on the line they found a way to win.
“They dug deep,” he explains. “You go down the line and first of all Stoesser made some big saves to keep it on goal. Penalties really gave us the game in the end. I think it just showed a lot of character to find a way and fight your way through and get it done when it was needed.”
Kalan Lind, who scored the decisive goal, describes what he remembers before lighting the lamp for the overtime winner.
“Uchacz was just trying to get the puck into the net and I saw it in the air and hit it with my hand and then kind of just threw it into the net and it must have found its way through the net. I don’t even know where it got in. I did not see it.”
Lind acknowledges how good it feels to beat the Wheat Kings after losing to them both times in their previous encounters earlier in the season.
“We wanted to come out with a little more fire than we did, but I think we kind of found that fire at the end of the game.”
Shots on goal ended 33-30 in Brandon’s favour, with the Rebels going 1/6 on the power play while Brandon went 0/7 with the man advantage.
Red Deer’s Rhett Stoesser was named the third star of the game with just one clean sheet and a .969 save of the night.
Meanwhile, Brandon’s goaltender Nicholas Jones was named the game’s second star with two goals conceded and a .933 save.
The Rebels’ Jayden Grubbe, who scored the deciding goal, was named the game’s first star.
The win improves the Rebels’ record to 31-8-1-3 with 66 points and still sits first in the WHL’s Central Division, while the loss ties the Wheat Kings’ record to 18-20-5-0 41 points and remaining points lowers in fifth place in the East Division of the league.
The rebels’ next action is Sunday, January 22, 2023 when they travel to Calgary to take on the hitmen. It’s a play at 4:00 p.m. MST.
You can catch all the action live on 106.7 Rewind Radio.