By Ryan McCracken on January 2, 2018.
Medicine Hat News
The Medicine Hat Tigers rang in the New Year with an overtime victory on Monday afternoon at Western Financial Place.
Kristians Rubins scored two minutes into sudden death to secure a 5-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice after watching a three-goal lead vanish in the third period.
Defence took a backseat to breakaways in the early going of Monday’s New Year’s Day matinee, but neither offence managed to take advantage due to some timely saves from both goaltenders.
First Colton Kroeker broke in all alone only to be stopped by Tigers netminder Jordan Hollett, then Kootenay’s Bailey Brkin shut the door on a Gary Haden breakaway a few minutes later.
While the end-to-end pace continued through the opening frame, only Hollett and Brkin left the ice satisfied following 20 scoreless minutes.
Ryan Chyzowski finally snapped the stalemate seven minutes into the second period. After Mark Rassell drew a holding call to Jonathan Smart, Chyzowski finished off a cross-ice feed from David Quenneville and beat a sprawling Brkin for his 13th of the season.
Rassell doubled up on the lead six minutes later. The overage Tigers captain extended his personal point streak to four games with his 32nd of the year after cutting in on a breakaway and beating Brkin over the glove.
The Ice finally pushed their way back into the game when Brett Davis picked up a blocked shot on the doorstep and beat Hollett to the open cage just over a minute into the third period.
While Kootenay looked poised to draw even when Rubins was sent to the bin for interference, James Hamblin flipped the script with a shorthanded scoring frenzy. The 18-year-old Edmonton product beat Brkin twice inside just 35 seconds —both from Rassell — including a highlight reel breakaway tally to put him at 13 goals on the year.
But the Ice refused to let it knock them off strike. First Alex Baer tucked one past Hollett to salvage the power play, then Cameron Hausinger struck 36 seconds later to cut the deficit back down to one.
While Baer kept up the pressure and managed to sneak another one past Hollett with just over six minutes left in regulation to draw even and force the Tigers back onto their heels, Rubins was waiting to steal the spotlight in overtime.
Hollett collected the 35-save victory to push Medicine Hat to 21-15-2-0. Brkin took the loss on 31 shots, dropping Kootenay to 18-18-2-0.
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