By Ryan McCracken on October 7, 2017.
Jordan Hollett had a debut to remember.
The 18-year-old goaltender stopped 19 shots to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-2 victory over the Regina Pats on Friday at the Canalta Centre — bringing an end to the 137-day wait between getting shipped to the Gas City and making his debut against the team that traded him away.
“It was a special night for me, coming back for my first game in quite a while. Just for the boys to come back to our winning ways, I think we played a very strong game with a great team effort all around,” said Hollett. “I’m very proud of everybody here and it was good for me also, to get that win.”
Tigers head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston added Hollett showed no signs of rust after the lengthy hiatus, and his play even seemed to spark some confidence on the bench.
“There’s not a lot of room on a lot of those shots but he’s a big man and takes up a lot of space,” said Clouston. “He played hard and aggressive and I think that gave the guys some confidence.”
While the Pats held Medicine Hat to a 2-2 stalemate through the first 40 minutes, Ryan Chyzowski broke open the tie just before the halfway mark of the third then Zach Fischer put the game out of reach to push the Tigers to 3-2-0-0 on the season.
Tyler Preziuso kicked off the scoring midway through the opening frame. The 18-year-old Victoria product tipped his first goal of the year past Pats netminder Tyler Brown to give Medicine Hat an early lead off a point shot from David Quenneville.
“Linus put it on my tape and I just saw Prez’ going to the net,” said Quenneville. “I wasn’t sure if I could quite get it on his stick, but I managed to do it and it was a really good tip.”
But the lead was short-lived. While Medicine Hat won the ensuing draw and forced the play back into the Pats end, Tigers captain Mark Rassell was bullied off the puck in the corner. The turnover led straight to Wyatt Sloboshan’s second of the year and drew the ire of most of the 3,524 in attendance, but Rassell put his fans back in a good mood just over a minute later.
The Calgary product broke in all alone before slipping the puck through Brown’s five hole and watching it trickle over the line to give Medicine Hat a narrow lead at the break.
The Pats refused to go quietly however, and battled their way back into the contest with an early second-period goal. George King was credited with his second of the season after getting just enough of a Marco Creta point shot to redirect the puck past Hollett and draw even after 40 minutes — setting the stage for a thriller of a third.
While the Pats looked poised to gain their first lead of the night with a good jump to start the frame, Medicine Hat rallied to regain the lead and send Regina packing with a 2-3-1-0 record.
“I thought we had a really good 40 minutes, but 40 minutes doesn’t get you much in this league. We just stayed real consistent throughout the game,” said Quenneville. “Hollett made some really big saves for us late and that was big for us. It’s really important we got that win.”
The evening also featured Matt Bradley’s first appearance at the Canalta Centre since being traded to the Pats in exchange for Hollett back in May. The 209-game Tigers veteran assisted on Sloboshan’s first-period goal to put him at five goals and five helpers on the year with at least one point in all six of his games.
“It was kind of weird playing in a different jersey and on a different side of the bench, but it was fun playing against those guys,” said Bradley, adding he’s been enjoying his time in Regina. “Team-wise we’re trying to figure some things out but so far everything has been good.”
Brown took the loss despite a 26-save effort.
The Tigers return to the ice at the Canalta Centre Saturday to host the Prince Albert Raiders. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
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