Fluke goal flusters Festa

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

Brodie Dupont would love to cherish the memory of his first WHL game-winning goal.

If only he had seen it.

Just 43 seconds after scoring his first of the night in the second period, the Calgary Hitmen rookie, desperate for a change, dumped the puck in from centre ice.

The rubber bounced 10-ft. in front of former Hitmen goaltender Gerry Festa and fluttered into the net for the eventual game-winner as Calgary trimmed the Red Deer Rebels 2-1 at the 'Dome last night.

"I was out of gas and just dumping it on the net," Dupont said.

"My back was towards the play and I heard the crowd start cheering.

"I thought maybe a fight broke out so I turned around and saw Festa with his arms in the air."

Dupont says ex-Hitmen goalie Scott Bowles let a similar goal in previously.

"There's something about that net," said Dupont. "It must be cursed."

Rebels bench boss Brent Sutter was irate. He pulled Festa, gave him a lengthy piece of his mind and then sent the 'tender back in 25 seconds later.

Red Deer scored a few minutes later but it was all the offence the visitors could muster as the Hitmen were able to protect a lead that had gotten away from them 24 hours earlier in Red Deer.

Justin Pogge made 29 stops in all as Calgary sat back and covered up defensively for the final frame.

The Hitmen (25-17-6-2) moved into sole possession of third place in the Central Division with the win, two points up on the Rebels (24-17-4-4).

If there was an unsung hero in this provincial battle it was certainly Calgary defenceman Darryl Yacboski, who was a physical presence all night.

The big blueliner set the tone in the first period when he unloaded on Rebels winger Cam Lilley with a massive open-ice hit.

In the third period, he sent Flames first-rounder Dion Phaneuf to the ice twice in one shift.

"I snapped back into it and took it upon myself," Yacboski said. "I refocused on how I have to play each and every night.

"That's part of my game. I have to bring the excitement and get our players going when we need it.

A round of fights got things started in Red Deer Tuesday night.

"Tonight, it was a hit that got guys going," added Yacboski. "Different things like that are important."

The two clubs played a scoreless opening period that featured a number of big hits but none of the fisticuffs that kicked off the previous night's tilt in Red Deer. On Tuesday, all four world junior teammates -- Andrew Ladd vs. Phaneuf and Ryan Getzlaf vs. Colin Fraser -- dropped the gloves before the game was five seconds old.

Dupont's first of the night, and seventh of the season, came on the powerplay as he blasted a rocket from the top of the circles past Festa.

He then bounced the game-winner past Festa later on the same shift.

Red Deer responded a few minutes later when Ty Morris took a pass from Fraser, walked out front and went five-hole on Pogge to make it a 2-1 game after 40 minutes.

The visitors outshot Calgary 30-22.


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