CALGARY, AB – A two-goal lead wasn’t enough for the home team on Saturday night as the Red Deer Rebels battled back in the final two periods to hand the Calgary Hitmen their first loss of the season 3-2 in overtime.
“Our overall game tonight didn’t have the jump, effort, and the second effort we had right through our line-up last night and that is disappointing,” explained Hitmen bench boss Mike Williamson. “It is early in the year, you never want complacency to set in, and it looked like Red Deer wanted that hockey game a lot more than we did”.
After suffering a 5-4 loss last night, the Rebels gave Bolton Pouliot his first start of the 2012-13 season. With the nod given to Pouliot, No. 1 netminder PatrikBartosak got the evening off, following 39 saves made in Medicine Hat on Friday.
The Hitmen got on the scoreboard first, just over five minutes into the contest while on the man advantage. Jaynen Rissling fed a pass from the blue line down to Brady Brassart at the left of the goal. Brassart watched as the pass hit his stick and deflected into the back of the net.
“It was such a nice play from Rissling, I was almost surprised; he wasn’t even looking at me but managed to get it on my tape,” said Brassart of his third goal of the season.
Cody Sylvester continued his superb start to the year as he extended the Hitmens’ lead midway through the first frame. The Calgary captain skated through three Red Deer players before pushing the puck off the left pad of Pouliot and in. the goal gave Sylvester his fourth of the campaign and third against the Rebels.
Red Deer cut the deficit in half in the early stages of the middle stanza. Brandon Underwood’s attempt from the point was tipped in by Tyson Ness, who was positioned in front of Chris Driedger for his second of the season.
With a goal to their name, the Rebels were able to put together a stronger second period as they traded scoring chances with the Hitmen. Pouliot was able to settle into a zone between the pipes for Red Deer as he denied all 14 shots he faced, including two great chances from Sylvester. Driedger was steady in net for Calgary as he made 12 of his 23 saves made in the second.
Another early period marker allowed the Rebels to tie the score. Exactly three minutes into the third,Charles Inglis wired a shot from the left face-off circle and had the puck sneak under the arm of Driedger for his third of the year.
Pouliot, who made 39 stops, played at his best late in the third as he was able to hold off a deadly Calgary power play to force the game into a fourth period.
On the power play in overtime, Inglis took his time from in the slot where he lifted a shot over the shoulder of Driedger for his second goal of the game to secure the win for Red Deer.
“I thought for the first five minutes we out worked them, but for the rest of the night we got out worked, out battled and out completed so that is the reason we lost,” described Sylvester.
Calgary remains at home next week as they prepare to host the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday, October 5, and the Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday, October 7. Puck drop for Friday’s game will be 7:00 p.m., while Sunday’s match-up will go at 2:00 p.m. with a brunch held before in the Avison Young Club Dining Room from noon to 2 p.m. For Brunch reservations, please call 403-571-9733. The reservation line is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.