September 21st, 2018

Tigers win OT thriller

By Ryan McCracken on November 11, 2017.

Medicine Hat Tigers forward Mark Rassell is stopped by the pad of Calgary Hitmen goaltender Nick Schneider during Saturday's Western Hockey League game at the Canalta Centre. -- News Photo Ryan McCracken
@ MHNMcCracken

The bragging rights belong to Mark Rassell.

The Medicine Hat Tigers captain collected a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime victory against the Calgary Hitmen at the Canalta Centre, bringing him to a total of three pucks put past former teammate Nick Schneider in the weekend’s home-and-home set.

Rassell broke open a tie game midway through the second period when he deflected a point shot from David Quenneville past Schneider on the power play to extend his personal point streak to three games. While the Hitmen knotted things back up early in the third, Rassell set up Gerlach with six seconds left in overtime to steal away the victory.

While Rassell earned the last laugh in Friday and Saturday’s victories, Schneider still kept Medicine Hat guessing all night with a strong performance in Calgary’s crease. The 20-year-old Leduc product — with 133 games as a Tiger under his belt — finished the evening with 32 saves.

The Hitmen took an early lead when Jake Kryski potted his second of the season just over a minute into action, but the Tigers answered in numbers. Jaeger White repeated his performance from the night before, putting his Tigers on the board with a game-tying goal in the first period, then Max Gerlach shook off a seven-game goalless drought to push Medicine Hat out in front.

But Calgary mustered a response of their own a few minutes later when blueliner Jake Bean snapped a puck past Hat goaltender Michael Bullion to draw even at the break.

The Tigers tightened things up in the second. Bullion picked up the slack on a handful of quality scoring chances to lay the framework for Rassell’s go-ahead marker, but Calgary’s Jakob Stukel struck 32 seconds into the third to put his team right back into the contest.

The Hitmen looked to take a lead when Andrew Fyten cut in on a breakaway and beat Bullion a few minutes later, but a review determined the puck was kicked into the net on a second chance and the goal did not stand.

The Tigers were forced to kill off a late penalty to Gerlach, 21 seconds of which carried over into overtime, but they escaped with the victory on the heels of the Texan’s game-winner.

Bullion turned aside a total of 36 shots to lock up Medicine Hat’s fourth win in a row — their longest winning streak of the season — pushing the Tigers to 12-6-0-0 on the year. Calgary fell to 6-11-2-0 with the loss.

Tigers forward James Hamblin was missing from Saturday’s contest as a scratch after tweaking his knee Friday. The 18-year-old centre has four goals and 14 assists on the year.

The Tigers return to the Canalta Centre Tuesday to host the Kootenay Ice at 7 p.m.

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