Jon Martin's goal with 5:04 remaining in the third period helped propel the Kootenay ICE to a 5-3 victory in Red Deer Friday.
Kootenay scored three times in the final frame to erase a 3-2 Rebels lead, as the ICE opened the 2014-15 Western Hockey League season with a win.
Red Deer opened the scoring 4:59 into the game when Brooks Maxwell sprung free on a short-handed breakaway.
Kootenay answered back with a pair of goals later in the opening frame, first through fifth-year forward Austin Vetterl just past the midway mark.
Zak Zborosky gave the ICE the lead with 3:44 remaining in period one when he shoved a rebound in the crease past Rebels netminder Taz Burman.
The teams traded chances and momentum in the second period, with Red Deer capitalizing with a two goals inside the final five minutes.
After Brett Cote slapped a point shot home, the Rebels took a 3-2 lead into the intermission through centreman Meyer Nell.
The ICE found an equalizer off a bounce in front of Burman just seventeen seconds into the third, as Zborosky crashed the net to score his second goal of the game.
Veteran Martin restored the Kootenay lead at 4-3 at 14:56 of the third period, converting on a Cale Fleury rebound from in close.
Luke Philp buried an empty-net goal with 20 seconds remaining to round out the scoring. Both Philp and Martin returned to the ICE mid-week after attending NHL Prospect Camps with Toronto and Vancouver, respectively.
Four ICE skaters: Cale Fleury, Bryan Allbee, Vince Loschiavo and Jared Legien made their WHL debuts Friday. Fleury, Allbee, and fellow first-year defenseman Dylan Overdyk all recorded their first career WHL points. Both Overdyk and Troy Murray recorded multi-point efforts from the back end.
1. Jon Martin, Kootenay
2. Brett Cote, Red Deer
3. Wyatt Hoflin, Kootenay
UP NEXT: Kootenay continues its opening weekend Saturday evening in Edmonton. Game time is 7:00 pm.
Info from Chris Wahl http://www.kootenayice.net/