Medicine Hat, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes opened their second round series with the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday at the Canalta Centre with a 4-0 loss.
The ‘Canes were on their heels from the drop of the puck. Medicine Hat, who hadn’t played in nine days after eliminating the Brandon Wheat Kings in four games, were the fresher team as they outskated the Hurricanes from the start. The ‘Canes’ Tanner Nagel was issued a double-minor for high-sticking just 3:28 into the game. Despite the early opportunity on the power play, the Tigers were unable to open the scoring as Stuart Skinner was sharp early. Medicine Hat finally solved Skinner at the 15:23 mark as John Dahlstrom banged home his fourth of the post-season as a Matt Bradley point shot bounced off the end wall right to Dahlstrom who made it 1-0. The Tigers outshot the ‘Canes 10-4 in the opening frame.
Tigers continued their strong play in the second period. The ‘Canes had a good early chance as Alec Baer was stopped point blank on a two-on-one opportunity as Egor Babenko centered to Baer but Tigers’ netminder Michael Bullion slid across with the right pad to stop the 19-year-old. Moments later, Medicine Hat added to their lead as Chad Butcher scored his second of the playoffs on a give-and-go with Zach Fischer at the 5:42 mark making it 2-0. Tigers made it 3-0 as Steven Owre netted his second of the post-season at the 17:25 mark. Hurricanes were outshot 13-7 in the second period.
In the third period, the Tigers added to their lead as Fischer got in on the act as he finished his fourth on a two-on-one with just 4:59 left in the hockey game – Butcher and Owre picked up the helpers. Skinner was strong in the final twenty minutes as he stopped 13 of 14 shots he faced, including a beautiful two-on-one save on Bradley early in the period.
The Tigers held the shot edge 14-5 in the third period and 37-16 in the hockey game. The ‘Canes did not have a power play opportunity in the game while their penalty kill was a perfect 4/4.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Tigers – #11 Steven Owre – 1 goal, 2 assists
2) Tigers – #21 Chad Butcher – 1 goal, 1 assist
3) Tigers – #30 Michael Bullion – 16 saves, shutout
The Hurricanes have their three game post-season winning streak snapped with the 4-0 loss to the Tigers. Medicine Hat also takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The two teams will get back at it on Saturday night in Game 2 at the Canalta Centre at 7:30pm before the series shifts back to Lethbridge for Game 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tickets for Game 3 and 4 are available online, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre or Yates Ticket Centre’s.
(Photo Credit: Medicine Hat Tigers)