Medicine Hat, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes stunned the Medicine Hat Tigers Tuesday night in a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime victory to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
The Hurricanes were outshot early in the hockey game as the Tigers came out flying in the opening seven minutes. Medicine Hat struck first as Zach Fischer stole a puck behind the Hurricanes net as Stuart Skinner came out to play the puck and Fischer was able to wrap it into the empty net to make it 1-0 Tiger 8:47 into the game. Just nine seconds later however the ‘Canes tied the game as Jordy Bellerive was sprung on a breakaway and made no mistake going upstairs past Michael Bullion to make it 1-1 – Alec Baer and Dylan Cozens picked up the assists. The ‘Canes kept coming as the Tyler Wong netted his team-leading 10th of the post-season as he ripped one over the glove of Bullion to put the ‘Canes ahead 2-1 – Brady Pouteau and Bellerive earned the helpers. Before the period was out, the ‘Canes added to their lead as Egor Babenko scored his seventh of the playoffs with 47 seconds left as the ‘Canes led 3-1 after twenty minutes of play. The Hurricanes were outshot 9-8 in the first period.
It was all Tigers in the middle frame as they outshot the Hurricanes 17-7 and scored all three goals in the period. At the 4:07 mark Medicine Hat was able to pull within one as Ryan Jevne was credited with his third of the playoffs making it 3-2 Hurricanes. Just 1:07 later, Mark Rassell tied the game at the 5:14 mark as he lifted one by Skinner to equalize. On a power play, Rassell struck again at the 9:26 mark to give Medicine Hat a 4-3 lead after two periods of play.
The Hurricanes played a much better third period as they pressed for a game-tying goal. The ‘Canes directed 13 shots on Bullion in the final twenty minutes as they came close a handful of times with some point-blank opportunities that the Tigers’ goaltender was able to stop. However, the ‘Canes finally broke through as Dylan Cozens was able to jam home a rebound into the net to tie the game at 4-4 with just 2:43 left in regulation time. Neither team scored in the dying minutes as Game 7 went to overtime.
Early in the extra session the ‘Canes had a great chance to end the game but were unable to do so. The ‘Canes were then assessed a high-sticking penalty resulting in a power play for the Tigers. On the man advantage, John Dahlstrom had a glorious opportunity to end the series but Skinner came up with his biggest save of the season and then seconds later the ‘Canes countered up ice and the ‘Canes Captain was able to end the game, and the series, with an absolute bullet high-glove side on Bullion 3:02 into overtime to lift the ‘Canes to the come-from-behind 5-4 win.
The Hurricanes outshot the Tigers 2-1 in overtime but were outshot 40-30 in the game. The ‘Canes went 0/3 on the power play while the Tigers were 1/5 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were the Tigers overage players:
1) #4 Clayton Kirichenko
2) #11 Steven Owre
3) #21 Chad Butcher
The win for the Hurricanes books their ticket to the Eastern Conference Final where they will face the Regina Pats beginning on Friday at the Brandt Centre in Regina. The series will shift back to Lethbridge for Game 3 and Game 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
Tickets for Game’s 3 and 4 will go on sale at 9:00am on Wednesday morning and can be purchased online, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre or Yates Ticket Centre’s.