Medicine Hat, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes visited the Medicine Hat Tigers on Good Friday in hopes of taking a 3-2 series lead and the ‘Canes did just that earning a 5-4 victory at the Canalta Centre.
It was a see-saw first period that saw the Hurricanes hold the lead 3-2 after twenty minutes. The ‘Canes struck 3:36 into the hockey game as Tyler Wong leaned into a slapshot and beat Michael Bullion under the glove to make it 1-0. The Hurricanes would get a power play but took themselves off the man advantage and while four-on-four the Tigers tied the game at 1-1 as Max Gerlach beat Stuart Skinner evening the game. The ‘Canes pulled back ahead as Ryan Bowen, who drew back into the line-up after missing Game’s 3 and 4, was sprung on a breakaway and made good giving Lethbridge a 2-1 lead as the ‘Canes struck on their first two shots of the game – Josh Tarzwell and Dylan Cozens picked up the helpers. Yet again though, the Tigers tied the game four-on-four as Clayton Kirichenko outwaited Skinner to tie the game 2-2. With a power play late in the period the Hurricanes once again took the lead as Wong lifted one off the crossbar and in with 2:12 left in the period for his second of the night – Egor Babenko and Giorgio Estephan earned the helpers. Tigers outshot the Hurricanes 13-9 in the opening twenty minutes.
The fast pace continued in the second period as both teams had points where they controlled the play. The Hurricanes opening seven minutes was spent mostly in the Tigers zone but the ‘Canes were unable to add to their 3-2 lead. The Tigers midway through the period pushed back and would get rewarded on a three-on-one as Gerlach snapped home his second of the night and fourth of the playoffs beating Skinner high glove side to even the game at 3-3 after forty minutes of play. Tigers led the shots 15-9 in the middle stanza and 28-18 after two periods.
The Hurricanes responded in the third period and once again retook the lead. On a power play, Ryan Vandervlis would backhand home his fifth of the playoffs to give the Hurricanes their fourth lead of the night making it 4-3 – Alec Baer and Bowen picked up the assists on the goal. The Hurricanes struck again as a point shot by Brennan Riddle went off of Ty Schultz and past Michael Bullion to make it 5-3 Lethbridge – Jadon Joseph and Tanner Nagel earned the assists on the play. Tigers pulled back within one as David Quenneville beat Skinner five-hole with a point shot on the power play at the 14:34 mark to make it 5-4 Hurricanes. Tigers pulled the goalie for the extra attacker but they could not generate the game-tying goal as the ‘Canes hung on for the win.
The Hurricanes were outshot 13-9 in the third period and 41-27 on the night. The ‘Canes went 2/6 with the power play while the Tigers were 1/4 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Tigers – #16 Max Gerlach – 2 goals
2) Tigers – #5 Kristians Rubins – 2 assists
3) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – 2 goals
The Hurricanes with the win now lead the best-of-seven series three games to two on the Medicine Hat Tigers and will have an opportunity to close out the series on Sunday night in Game 6 at the ENMAX Centre.
Tickets for Game 6 are available online, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre or Yates Ticket Centre.