August 14th, 2018

Tigers’ youth leads the way

By Ryan McCracken on October 11, 2017.

Medicine Hat Tigers forward Gary Haden collects the puck after teammate Dawson Heathcote's first career goal in Wednesday's Western Hockey League game against the Everett Silvertips at the Canalta Centre. @MHNMcCracken

The Medicine Hat Tigers put their scoring depth on display Wednesday at the Canalta Centre.

After parting ways overage forward Zach Fischer earlier this week and entering the evening’s matchup against the Everett Silvertips with injuries to Max Gerlach and Jaeger White, Medicine Hat’s youth carried the load in a 5-4 victory — pushing the Tigers to 4-3-0-0 on the year.

The Tigers found the start they needed after falling 6-1 to the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday. David Quenneville got the ball rolling with his first of the season just over a minute into regulation, then Dawson Heathcote followed it up with the first of his career 29 seconds later.

The flurry of goals sent Silvertips starting goaltender Kyle Dumba marching for the bench in favour of Dorrin Luding after letting two of Medicine Hat’s first three shots hit the twine. The Silvertips made their bi-annual trip into Alberta without star goaltender Carter Hart, who has been battling a case of mono.

While Everett looked to steal away the early momentum with Matt Fonteyne’s sixth of the season, coming in the final 15 seconds of the opening period, Tyler Preziuso proved there was still plenty of time left to make something happen.

The Victoria product picked up a loose puck in the slot then turned and fired it over Luding’s glove to re-establish a two-goal lead and tilt the ice back in Medicine Hat’s favour at the break.

The Tigers and Tips traded chances through the first half of the middle frame, including a couple breakaways stopped by Hat goaltender Michael Bullion. The Tiger goaltender kept his team’s lead alive with a series of big stops, but Patrick Bajkov finally managed to put one past him on the power play.

The Silvertips veteran ripped a point shot past into the top corner just five seconds into Cole Clayton’s slashing penalty — cutting the lead back to one. But the Tabbies went right back to work offensively.

Sophomore forward Gary Haden held the offensive zone with an aggressive forecheck before feeding Mark Rassell in the low slot for the captain’s team-leading seventh goal of the season.

While the Silvertips immediately responded by grinding out a goal in the blue paint, then entered the third period with a power play, the Tigers shut down the opportunity and stole back the momentum after drawing a slashing penalty.

The infraction put Everett’s Orrin Centazzo in the bin and opened the door for Rassell’s second goal of the evening — stretching Medicine Hat’s lead back to two and forcing the Tips onto their heels.

Everett’s Montana Onyebuchi narrowed the gap back to one with a point shot late in the third, but the Tigers held on for the narrow victory.

Bullion closed out the victory with 30 saves while Luding stopped 28 in relief of Dumba. The Tips are now 1-4-0-0 since losing Hart to start October, and 3-6-0-0 on the year.

Haden, Ryan Chyzowski and Henry Rybinski all finished with two assists for Medicine Hat.

The Tigers return to the Canalta Centre Friday to host the Saskatoon Blades.

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