Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes welcomed the Medicine Hat Tigers in Game 6 on Sunday night in hopes of advancing to the Eastern Conference Final, but it was the Tigers who earned a 5-2 win as they force a Game 7 in Medicine Hat on Tuesday.
It was a fast-paced start to the hockey game that saw the Hurricanes physical early as they recorded 15 hits in the first twenty minutes. Early in the game however, the ‘Canes were handed two penalties on the same play as Igor Merezhko and Egor Babenko were penalized resulting in a five-on-three for a full two minutes and the Tigers made good. While up two men, Max Gerlach roofed one by Stuart Skinner to make it 1-0 at the 5:13 mark. The ‘Canes responded to tie the game on their first shot of game as Babenko beat Michael Bullion high over the glove at the 9:48 mark – Tyler Wong picked up the lone helper. On yet another power play, the Tigers pulled ahead again as Matt Bradley had a puck bounce into the net making it 2-1 Medicine Hat. The Hurricanes however once again tied the game as Babenko tapped home his second of the game on the power play – Wong and Brennan Menell earned the assists on the goal. The Tigers outshot the Hurricanes 15-4 in the first period.
The second period saw chances for both teams. The Hurricanes had a few good looks but Bullion was able to stand tall. Skinner was once again the busier of the two goaltenders in the middle frame. The third year netminder made some great reactionary stops to keep the game tied. The Hurricanes were outshot again 14-9 in the middle frame as they trailed 29-13 after two periods.
In the third period the Tigers scored yet another power play goal as Steven Owre deflected home his third of the playoffs at the 4:20 mark as he redirected a Chad Butcher point shot to give Medicine Hat a 3-2 lead. Bradley added his second of the night on a broken play that saw a bounce come right to him and he was able to just beat Skinner making it 4-2 at the 11:55 mark. The Hurricanes had some glorious opportunities to try and pull the game close but missed the net on three point blank chances and Bullion came up with a handful of big saves before John Dahlstrom potted an empty-net goal to give Medicine Hat a 5-2 victory.
The Hurricanes outshot the Tigers 13-8 in the third period, but were outshot 37-26 in the hockey game. The ‘Canes went 1/3 on the power play while the Tigers were 3/6 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Tigers – #11 Steven Owre – 1 goal
2) ‘Canes – #22 Egor Babenko – 2 goals
3) Tigers – #7 Matt Bradley – 2 goals, 1 assist
The Hurricanes and Tigers are now tied at three games apiece in the best-of-seven second round series. Medicine Hat with the win has now forced a seventh and deciding game which will come on Tuesday night at the Canalta Centre at 7:00pm.