The Prince Albert Raiders (7-1-0-0) had their seven-game, season-opening winning streak snapped on Saturday night, falling 4-3 in Red Deer to the Rebels (5-2-0-0) at the Enmax Centrium.
Rebels goaltender Ethan Anders was the difference maker on the night, turning aside 49 Raider shots to pick up the win.
A back-and-forth first period nearly ended without a goal, but Aliaksei Protas found the back of the net with 12 seconds to play in the frame. The Belarusian forward’s knuckler fooled Anders to put the Raiders up 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Early in the second, the Rebels drew even. Jeff de Wit fed Brandon Hagel on a two-on-one rush, who lifted it over Raiders goaltender Ian Scott to make it a 1-1 game.
Throughout the second, the Raiders had their chances to restore the lead. Brayden Pachal hit a cross bar and Noah Gregor found iron on the game’s lone power play. Also on that power play, Gregor had what appeared to be an open net, but Anders threw out his trapper to rob a sure goal.
The Rebels took the lead early in the third. Just 19 seconds into the frame, Arshdeep Bains’ shot from the left wing fooled Scott to give Red Deer a 2-1 advantage. Four minutes later, Chris Douglas slid a rebound off the end boards through Scott to put the Rebels up 3-1.
Sergei Sapego cut the Rebels’ lead in half at the 8:03 mark of the frame. The blueliner pounced on a turnover forced by Sean Montgomery and snapped a shot past Anders from the top of the slot. The goal kept Sapego’s league-leading point streak intact at eight games this season.
Just 15 seconds later, the Raiders tied the game. Gregor won an offensive zone faceoff to Brett Leason, who wired a shot past Anders for his fourth of the season.
The Rebels took the lead for good with 2:16 remaining. Reece Johnson busted down the left wing, cut in front of the goal and outwaited Scott to give the Rebels the 4-3 advantage.
The Raiders applied pressure for the final two minutes, pulling Scott for the extra attacker. Parker Kelly appeared to beat Anders, but the puck crossed the line a second after the final buzzer had sounded, stopping the Raiders’ seven-game streak.
Scott finished the game with 17 saves in his first loss of the season.
The Raiders will try to avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season in Calgary on Monday afternoon against the Hitmen (0-4-1-0) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Puck drop is 2 p.m.