By Medicine Hat News on February 10, 2018.
David Quenneville rewrote the history books on Friday night at the Canalta Centre.
The 19-year-old Medicine Hat Tigers blueliner recorded a pair of assists in a 4-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen to pass Kris Russell for the team’s all-time defensive scoring record at 197 points.
“It’s not every day you get to create history,” said Quenneville, who achieved the feat in 236 games, five fewer than Russell. “It’s pretty special. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it all night. I tried not to, but it slowly kept creeping back into my mind, especially after that first assist.”
Tigers head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston said the emotion was contagious when Quenneville etched his name into history on Ryan Chyzowski’s late goal in the third period and erupted into one of his trademark vehement celebrations.
“It was awesome. He was so excited. He was pretty emotional on the bench,” said Clouston, adding Russell and Quenneville share a number of similarities. “They’re both really good people, both leaders. Both are very talented players, very gifted and very important to their team. It’s quite a different era but they both play with passion and energy.”
The Tigers laid their bodies on the line to hold Calgary to just three shots in a scoreless opening frame. While Hitmen goaltender and former Tiger Nick Schneider kept his team in the contest with 11 saves through the first 20 minutes, Medicine Hat opened the floodgates in the second with three goals in the first four minutes to seize control of the game.
“We simplified it a little bit,” said Clouston. “We just fired the puck and went to the net and we were rewarded for it.”
Elijah Brown set things into motion just 76 seconds into the period when he chipped a set-up feed from Gary Haden past Schneider for his first of the night.
The Tigers went right back to applying pressure in the Calgary end and Mark Rassell capitalized on a defensive breakdown for his 44th of the season just 57 seconds later. The overage captain was left alone on the doorstep when a Quenneville point shot trickled his way for a tap-in goal — putting his teammate into Tigers history alongside Russell.
Medicine Hat’s opportunistic offence continued immediately after Rassell’s tally when Brown cut across the crease and redirected a shot from affiliate blueliner Daniel Baker past Schneider for his fourth goal since joining the Tigers at the trade deadline — and the first point of Baker’s young career.
The Hitmen pressed for an avenue back into the game early in the third period, but the Tabbies held off the push and Chyzowski struck to seal the game with five minutes left while putting Quenneville into sole possession of the team’s all-time defensive scoring record.
“I didn’t actually know at first. I was jus celebrating then I turned around and realized what happened. It was a pretty special moment to be part of,” said Chyzowski. “Obviously all the credit goes to Quenneville. He’s an unbelievable hockey player.”
Tigers goaltender Michael Bullion collected the victory with 16 saves to push Medicine Hat to 28-22-7-0 on the season with his second consecutive shutout.
“He’s been fantastic for us over the last two nights,” said Quenneville. “He’s earned it. He’s working hard in practice and doing the little things as a goalie.”
Schneider took the loss on 41 stops, dropping Calgary to 16-31-5-2.
“We didn’t have the effort we wanted,” said Schneider, adding he won’t be celebrating Quenneville’s achievement, but he’s proud of his former teammate all the same. “Good for him. He’s a great guy. I’ve known Dave for a long time and he works really hard.”
The Tigers and Hitmen will close out a home-and-home set in Calgary on Sunday at 2 p.m.
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