By Ryan McCracken on January 11, 2019.
Brett Kemp pulled up to the Canalta Centre to join the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday at 2 p.m. Six hours later he became the team’s newest goal-scoring leader.
The 18-year-old centre — acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings in exchange for 17-year-old winger Josh Williams at Thursday’s WHL trade deadline — scored twice to pass Tabby captain James Hamblin for the team lead in goals with 24 while powering his new squad to a 5-2 victory over the Regina Pats.
Elijah Brown gave Medicine Hat an early edge when he jammed a rebound through Pats goaltender Dean McNabb six minutes into the opening frame. The Tigers continued to control the flow of play into the final minutes of the period, but Regina’s Riley Krane converted on a late chance by tipping a Sergei Alkhimov shot past Hat netminder Jordan Hollett to set things back to even after 20 minutes.
Kemp sprung into action five minutes into the second period when he cut in on goal and ripped a feed from Bryan Lockner under the bar, then he repeated the feat on a power play three minutes later by chipping a rebound past McNabb to shift the momentum back in Medicine Hat’s favour.
Sebastian Streu answered for Regina five minutes later by beating Hollett over the glove with an extra attacker out for a delayed penalty, but Hat defenceman Cole Clayton quickly responded in kind on a shot through traffic, then Linus Nassen added another goal from the point on a power play with seven seconds left in the frame to give the Tigers a three-goal cushion entering the third. Nassen’s goal also chased McNabb from the net in favour of affiliate backup Matthew Pesenti to start the final frame.
The Pats responded with a more concerted effort to open the third and managed to hem the Tigers into their own end, but they were only able to muster a single shot on goal through the first nine minutes of the frame despite some sustained zone pressure and an early power play.
Regina put together another push later in the frame, but Hollett calmly kept them at bay to lock up a 20-save victory and push Medicine Hat to 23-16-1-2 on the season.
McNabb settled the loss after allowing five goals on 25 shots through 40 minutes. Pesenti stopped three in the third. Regina slipped to 12-29-1-1 with the loss.
The Tigers return to the Canalta Centre Saturday to host Williams and the Oil Kings at 7:30 p.m.
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