Monday , July 26 2021

Johnson's hat trick directs the Rebels to OT wins over Kootenay

Red Deer Rebels builds dominance of home ice and excess overtime so far in the 2018-19 WHL season.

Reese Johnson closed the natural hat trick with the OT winner Saturday night when the Rebels dropped the 5-4 Kootenay Ice who visited at Enmax Centrium.

Rebels are now 9-1 at home this season and 5-1 at overtime matches.

"It's amazing, of course winning at home at OT is one of the best feelings in hockey, that's amazing," Johnson said.

Kootenay opened the score at 5:01 in the first period when Owen Pederson beat Ethan Anders through hole five for his first WHL goal.

Red Deer responded with a strength-playing goal at 10:34 as Jeff de Wit, parked on the edge of the Kootenay goal, gave a breakthrough from Brandon Hagel for his 14th goal of the season.

After Zak Smith fired a shot from the pole for the Rebels, Connor McClennon led 2-on-1 in another way and tore one top shelf for 2-1 Ice to lead 2:02 to period two.

The rebels drew even more when Smith gave Alex Morozoff a good pass, which beat Ice goalkeeper Jesse Makaj for his fourth goal from 9:04 to the middle frame.

Red Deer led for the first time with a goal playing another strength, this time from Reese Johnson who pushed one on the goal line at the 13:21 mark.

However, the lead was only brief, when McClennon scored his second goal in the game less than three minutes later to make it 3-3 to 40 minutes.

The other game, another Rebel goal was scored when Hagel drove into the net and fed Johnson for his second goal of the match. Red Deer led 4-3 in their seventh quick count from 2:25 into the third period.

However, Kootenay bounced back as a point-blank shot from Jonathan Smart was deflected from a Rebel defender and passed Anders for the purpose of playing power at the 3:50 mark. The match is once again tied, this time 4-4.

In overtime, Jeff de Wit drew a penalty and the Rebels took advantage because Hagel set Johnson to blast a one-timer from a face-to-face point that beat Makaj to the 2:50 match winner into an extra frame.

"We practice such situations in many practices. "Obviously getting a one-timer through seams is quite large, it's a good bait from Hag," Johnson noted.

Despite the win, GM Rebels / head coach Brent Sutter felt the performance of his team left room for improvement.

"We change pucks in certain areas, especially in the first two periods," he suspected. "(Kootenay) is a very good transition team and if you don't manage pucks the right way and support where the pucks are and you get on top of them playing, then you give up weird people. That is what happened in the first two periods. It only focuses. "

Red Deer Kootenay outshot 40-30 nights and 3-for-4 on power play. The Ice is 1-for-2 with human excellence.

Rebels are 3-0 against Ice this season. Two matches have taken place overtime.

Kootenay was without front star Peyton Krebs when he was injured Friday night against Calgary.

The Rebels and Ice will fight again Friday, November 23 at Cranbrook (7pm at 106.7 THE DRIVE).

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