SYLVAN LAKE -- So much for the shootout. Many expected last night's 4-on-4 pre-season tilt between the Calgary Hitmen and Red Deer Rebels to generate a ton of offence. But the small 180-ft. by 82-ft. Sylvan Lake ice surface kept the goals to a minimum.
Red Deer's Ted Vandermeer tied the game at two early in the third period before teammate Mikko Kuukka notched his second of the game to give the Rebels a 3-2 win.
Ex-Hitmen goaltender Gerry Festa was the story, turning aside 34 shots for the Rebels.
Calgary fell to 1-2-1 in the pre-season.
Kuukka opened the scoring midway through the first frame on a shot from the point that goaltender Daniel Spence never saw. Spence was beaten just once on 16 shots.
Rookie Ryan White brought the Hitmen even before the end of the period and scored his second of the game late in the middle frame to give Calgary a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Red Deer dressed five rookies while the Hitmen had seven freshmen, including both goaltenders, in the lineup.
The Hitmen's pre-season schedule wraps up tomorrow night in Lacombe, also against the Rebels.