Never count them out.
Despite a 5-4 overtime loss, the Hitmen showed great resiliency to force the extra session Sunday afternoon at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina Nation.
It wasn’t the result they wanted, but an effort they couldn’t fault.
“We had good bench presence and I thought our guys stayed the course and applied pressure,” head coach Steve Hamilton. “I love to see that from them, you want to win every game but when you get to overtime sometimes its the fine edge of the blade that decides the difference.
“Overall I was happy with the guys resiliency tonight.”
The clash marked the third straight game between the rivals that went beyond the 60 minutes. It was the Hitmen who forced the extra session, erasing a 4-2 third period deficit on goals from Zac Funk and Adam Kydd. Sean Tschigerl and Tyson Galloway also found the back of the net for Calgary with the Tschigerl marker extending his career-high point scoring streak to 11 games.
All it took was 25 seconds to find a winner as Josh Tarzwell scored the winner with Kalen Lind and Arshdeep Bains both adding a pair of goals for Red Deer for their second straight win, after beating Edmonton Saturday night.
It’s been a tight season series and this game was more of the same with period scores of 1-1, 2-2- and 4-4.
“Everyone battled hard and never gave up,” Kydd said. “That’s part of identity. You obviously don’t want to go down every game but we know we are never out of game and trust each other.
“We need to sharpen a lot of the little details for next game and everyone is going to step up. It’s going to be an emotional one and after the game we want to look in the mirror and know that we gave it our all.”
The Hitmen are now 2-0-2 against the Rebels this season, as the two clubs will do it all again Tuesday night for the season finale to the 2021 WHL season.
After three months and 20 games played, it all comes down to one more go.
The last time this specific group will go to battle together.
“I love these guys, we couldn’t ask for a better collection of young men,” Hamilton said. “They never wanted or looked for excuses and wanted to have a successful year. I’ll remember this group for a long time. We spent a lot of time together and we as coaches really got to know them in a way in a normal year you might not have that same connection.
“We’ve had wonderful partners at Grey Eagle Resort and the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex. On behalf of the organization I need to express how wonderfully we were treated and how much it felt like home.”