By Ryan McCracken on December 16, 2017.
Christmas came early for the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday at Rogers Place.
Entering their final game before the holiday break on the heels of a four-game losing skid, Mark Rassell stepped up to give his team a gift with a 4-3 shootout winner against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
While Medicine Hat’s early struggles continued after allowing the first goal for the 10th time in the past 11 contests — this time off the stick of Oil Kings centre Davis Koch — David Quenneville set things straight almost immediately.
The 19-year-old Edmonton product was serving an interference penalty when Koch lit the lamp, but Quenneville wasted no time making up for the infraction when he stepped into a set-up from Ryan Chyzowski for his 12th of the year.
Texan Tabby Max Gerlach forced his team into the lead a few minutes later, beating Oil Kings goaltender Josh Dechaine to give Medicine Hat an edge at the intermission.
Rookie forward Dawson Heathcote gave Medicine Hat some important breathing room midway through the second period. The 17-year-old Nanaimo product snapped a 19-game goalless drought with the marker.
While Hat goaltender Jordan Hollett kept the lead intact with eight saves in the second period, the Oil Kings came creeping back in the third.
Tomas Soustal narrowed the Tiger lead to one with his ninth of the year, then Trey Fix-Wolansky beat Hollett with three minutes left in regulation to force sudden death.
While both teams had their share of overtime opportunities, neither managed to break through in 3-on-3 action.
Mark Rassell scored on Medicine Hat’s first shootout attempt to give Medicine Hat an edge, while Hollett stopped Colton Kehler, Soustal and Koch to secure the win.
Hollett collected 30 stops on the night — including three in overtime and all three in the shootout — to push Medicine Hat to 18-14-2-0. Dechaine took the 30-save loss, dropping Edmonton to 7-22-3-1 with their fourth straight setback.
Hollett has yet to allow a shootout goal on five chances. Medicine Hat improved to 2-0 in the skills competition with the win.
The Tigers break for 10 days before returning to the Canalta Centre to host the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Dec. 27 at 7 p.m.
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