By Ryan McCracken on October 6, 2016.
The comeback kids are back.
The Medicine Hat Tigers brought their thrilling brand of come-from-behind hockey back to the Canalta Centre on Wednesday night, stunning the Moose Jaw Warriors 5-4 after erasing a four-goal deficit in the third period and stealing the game away in overtime.
“We had a mindset going into the third that we wanted to win the period. We told ourselves to get four and then win in overtime so it’s kind of crazy how it worked out like that,” said Tigers forward Max Gerlach, who scored the overtime winner. “The win feels unbelievable when you come back and score four goals in one period and then get it in overtime.”
The Tigers found themselves in early trouble after Luka Burzan, Brett Howden Nikita Popugaev and Jayden Halbgewachs combined to run up a 4-0 lead for Moose Jaw, but things took a sudden turn in the third.
The Tabbies cashed in on three straight shots spanning just 43 seconds before adding a late power play marker to force overtime. Forward Mason Shaw, who scored one and added an assist, says it’s a prime example of how wild hockey can be.
“It just goes to show how fast this game can change. You’ve got to stick with it. It’s a good learning curve for everyone in the room, even though the score was landslided one way, one bounce can change the game,” said Shaw, whose Tigers improved to 4-1-0-0 with the win. “We had nothing to lose and we just went for it in the third. It just shows the character we have. That’s something that’s carried on since last year.”
After being held off the board for 36 consecutive chances, Tigers forward Zach Fischer finally managed to sneak one past Warriors goaltender Zach Sawchenko 5:03 into the final frame. Just 21 seconds later, John Dahlstrom repeated the feat for his first WHL goal, then 22 seconds after that Shaw completed the trifecta.
With Moose Jaw’s Tristin Langan in the penalty box for slashing, Fischer struck again with 2:12 remaining in regulation. That set the stage for Gerlach’s magic moment.
Tigers head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston added Wednesday featured a frustrating first two frames. The Tabbies seemed to be plagued by bad puck luck in the early going, as a few untimely whistles and two blown calls on the league’s new hybrid-icing rule turned the Tigers into a frustrated bunch. While Clouston says there were plenty of potential excuses, the team opted for a different route.
“We came out in the third and probably played the best period of the year so far,” said Clouston.
Tigers goaltender Nick Schneider locked up the win after being beaten four times on 22 shots, while Sawchenko settled for the 56-save loss, dropping the Warriors to 3-0-2-0 on the year.
The Tigers hit the road to Red Deer to take on the Rebels Friday at 7 p.m.