The Red Deer Rebels were poised to celebrate and end two long negative streaks Saturday...with the Prince Albert Raiders ready to give them a vigorous pat on the back. But, as fate has had it for most of the 2017-18 season, the Rebels couldn't stand prosperity and lost 3-2 in overtime to the Saskatoon Blades.
Max Gerlach's second goal of the game at 1:21 of the extra period gave the Bridge City Bunch a come-from-behind 3-2 triumph in Red Deer. The Rebels (10-23-11) held a 2-0 lead with five minutes to go in the second period...thanks to tallies from captain Grayson Pawlenchuk and former Blade Mason McCarty. But, Gerlach started the comeback late in the middle frame and Josh Paterson forced O.T. by banging in a rebound with 1:43 remaining in the third period...setting the stage for Gerlach's winner.
The overtime setback extended Red Deer's overall winless skid to 11 games (0-5-6), dating back to a 4-1 victory in Medicine Hat on December 15. The Rebels haven't won at home since October 28, a 4-3 extra time triumph over Regina. They are winless in their last 13 games at the Enmax Centrium (0-8-5). Thanks to an earlier 4-3 victory over visiting Moose Jaw, P.A. thought they were going to gain ground on the 22-19-3 Blades in the chase for the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference. Instead, Saskatoon stays seven points ahead of the Raiders with Prince Albert holding a game in hand.
"That's pretty much how you sum it up," responded assistant coach Ryan Keller to a 'wow' comment with regards to the rally. "We were kind of lifeless throughout much of the game. I guess at the end of the day, we found ourselves a way to win the game.
"He's got a great release," gushed Keller with regards to Gerlach's shot...beating Red Deer goaltender Ethan Anders cleanly twice. "It doesn't take long to get off."
The Bridge City Bunch travelled immediately following the victory to Cranbrook, B.C. for a late Sunday matinee against the Kootenay ICE.
"We've already talked to the guys and made sure they're aware that we're going to need a better effort (Sunday) night over a 60-minute period to get another two points," explained Keller.
Game time is 5 p.m. with the broadcast at 4:30 on 92-9, THE BULL. Following is the official game summary from the WHL...
Saskatoon Blades 3 (OT) at Red Deer Rebels 2 - Status: Final OT Saturday, January 13, 2018 - Enmax Centrium - Red Deer, AB
Saskatoon 0 1 1 1 - 3 Red Deer 1 1 0 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Red Deer, Pawlenchuk 15 (McCarty, Herauf), 11:35. Penalties-Davidson Sas (cross checking), 9:33.
2nd Period-2, Red Deer, McCarty 22 (Hagel, Alexeyev), 3:38. 3, Saskatoon, Gerlach 17 (Florchuk, Fiala), 15:28. Penalties-Cutler Rd (checking to the head), 5:39; Johnson Rd (hooking), 10:06; Johnson Rd (slashing), 19:39.