Rebels defeat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 5-3, to take the final playoff spot for the Eastern Conference. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Rebels win a big one in stunning comeback victory Friday

Red Deer takes the final playoff spot from Brandon Wheat Kings for Eastern Conference

Some Rebels hockey magic happened on the ice Friday night at the Centrium.

After an uninspired two periods, with Red Deer making passive plays while the Wheat Kings scored three goals, only Forward Brandon Hagel found the back of the net in the second period.

The game picked up drastically in the third period with a stunning comeback.

In the last 10 minutes, the Rebels rallied to score four goals, defeating Brandon, 5-3.

“I thought we played kind of passive for a good part of the game,” said General Manager and Head Coach Brent Sutter. “We were just kind of on our heels too much.”

Everything changed in the final period.

“We got moving and got some urgency, got some scoring chances and capitalized on them. I just don’t think we had enough guys going for the first two periods of the game. We got playing in the third and, again, you come back and that’s what you need,” he said.

In a tragic turn of events, Defenseman Alexander Alexeyev went down with a knee injury. The arena went quiet as he lay on the ice in obvious pain. Medics rushed in and carried him off on a stretcher.

Forward Zach Smith scored Red Deer’s winning goal and his thirteenth of the season. During the first two periods, the team was over-complicating things, he said.

“In the third, we just got simple and got pucks deep and I thought we just outworked them.”

Seeing Alexeyev go down with what appeared to be a serious injury motivated the Rebels to finish the game off for their teammate, added Smith.

“Someone cycled it down low, I think it was (Oleg Zaytsev). I just got the puck behind the net and then just went to throw it on net,” he said.

“We’ve been talking about throwing it on net all year. I just threw the puck on net and it happened to go in.”

With two victories over the weekend — the Rebels defeated the Kootenay Ice, 8-4, Saturday at the Centrium — Red Deer currently sits first in the Eastern Conference Wild Card spot in front of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Rebels host the Edmonton Oil Kings Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Just Posted

Supporters rally for Jason Kenney as UCP leader stops in Red Deer

Kenney promises equalization reform, stopping ‘Trudeau-Notley’ payroll hike, trade, economic mobility

‘Living Free’ talk supports Lacombe’s Mary C. Moore Public Library

Marco Ste. Marie will give a motivational talk on April 4th at the LMC

Blackfalds closing road for safety concerns

Motorists are required to use HWY 2A instead of Broadway Avenue

Merry Guanas poised to be Lacombe’s first cannabis dispensary

Cannabis retail owner expects a six-month wait before industry comes to city

Lacombe hosts 6th Invasive Species Council Conference at LMC

Council looks to protect native ecological environments in Alberta

WATCH: ‘Napalm Girl’ discusses journey from hatred to forgiveness in Lacombe

Burman University’s Herr Lecture Series welcomed Kim Phuc Phan Thi to Lacombe

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Most Read