VANCOUVER, B.C. - Mikhail Fisenko's overtime goal gave the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the Red Deer Rebels in Western Hockey League action Friday night.
Craig Schira also scored for the Giants (32-2-0-3) as they posted their 11th straight win before a crowd of 7,456 at the Pacific Coliseum.
Connor Redmond replied for the Rebels (15-20-0-6), who suffered their second consecutive loss.
Vancouver outshot the Rebels 33-20, but neither team managed to score during the first two periods. For most of the game, the Giants did not look like the team that sits first in the Western Conference by a wide margin while Red Deer, a club full of prospects who will be eligible for the NHL draft for the first time this summer, did not look like one of the Eastern Conference's basement-dwellers.
Vancouver missed the scoring touch of winger Evander Kane, who is playing for Canada at the world junior championships in Ottawa, and Jon Blum, the WHL's top-scoring defenceman, who is with the U.S. team.
The Giants generated few dangerous chances after scoring eight goals in a one-sided win over Moose Jaw in their final game of 2008. Vancouver still dominated the first period, restricting Red Deer to one shot in the first 13 minutes, but could not beat Rebels netminder Darcy Kuemper.
The Rebels came out stronger in the second, but both teams showed little offensively for another scoreless period in which Vancouver outshot Red Deer 11-6.
Schira finally opened the scoring at 8:35 of the third period as his wrist shot from the point got past a screened Kuemper during a power play. The goal came only 11 seconds into the man-advantage situation, after Red Deer's Cass Mappin was called for boarding and Red Deer's Carter Smith and Vancouver's James Wright were sent off for roughing.
But Redmond knotted the game at 1-1 with only 1:43 remaining in regulation as he fired Landon Ferraro's seeing-eye pass through a maze of skates from the side of the Vancouver net.
The Rebels played without offensive defenceman Tommi Kovisto, who has been playing for Finland at the world juniors, and fellow rearguard Alex Petrovic, who is playing for Team Pacific at the world under-17 championships in Port Alberni, B.C.
Vancouver's Brendan Gallagher was also away playing for Team Pacific in Port Alberni.
Tyson Sexsmith made 19 saves for the Giants, while Red Deer netminder Darcy Kuemper stopped 31 shots.