October 22nd, 2021

Tigers lose big in final pre-season game

By James Tubb on September 25, 2021.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Tigers Corson Hopwo crashes the net in the first period of Medicine Hat's last pre-season game against the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday. The Tigers would go on to lose 8-2, dropping them to 2-2 on the pre-season.

Medicine Hat fell behind early and couldn’t recover in Saturday night’s 8-2 blowout at the hands of the Swift Current Broncos.

With the loss, the Tigers fall to 2-2 on the pre-season as they get the regular season underway this Friday against the same Broncos team. Head Coach Willie Desjardins described his teams game tonight and the pre-season as a whole as “pretty average.”

“I think Swift Current played really well. They’ve got a good team, they’ve got some good young players that play hard. You gotta give them credit, we weren’t good enough. But they played well,” he said.

For veteran Corson Hopwo, he reflected Desjardins’ comments as the forward said the Tigers effort Saturday night just wasn’t good enough in the loss.

“We obviously have some things to work on. We need to be heavier, we just weren’t good enough tonight. It’s quite embarrassing actually,” he said.

There was no offense in the first period as both teams traded a lot of chances. Broncos’ Mathew Ward drew first blood in the second period, with a seeing eye shot that snuck through the five hole of Tigers net minder James Venne. Cole Nagy drew an assist on the goal, his third point of this home—and—home series.

Swift Current would double down on the lead towards the end of the frame capitalizing on an Oren Shtrom tripping penalty. Brady Birnie, notched his first of the pre-season on the man advantage as the Broncos looked to take a two goal lead into the third. As their goal was still being announced in the building, Carlin Dezainde got the Tigers on the board with 46 seconds left in the period.

The Broncos took over the third period scoring six goals, five of them un-answered. Dezainde scored his second of the game late in the third but it was too little too late at that point.

For Dezainde, he’s over looking his two goals as he says the team needs to be better.

“It’s a team game and yeah we got a couple chances, couple breaks, but we just weren’t good enough as a team and that’s what matters at the end of the day,” he said.

Venne stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced before the newest Tiger, Zach Zahara, took over halfway through the second frame. Other than Friday night’s game when Beckett Langkow remained in the crease all game, Desjardins has rotated his goalies throughout the pre-season.

Zahara signed with the club on Saturday after being drafted by Medicine Hat 171 overall in the 2020 WHL draft. He allowed seven goals in his WHL debut but Desjardins says it was not the 16-year-olds fault. He said the Tigers needed to play better in front of him.

It was a physical affair all game as there were post whistle scrums and no hit went un-finished. It’s been over a year since the Tigers and Swift Current met as Medicine Hat played only teams in Alberta and the Broncos remained in Saskatchewan last season.

Both teams went to the box twelve times each and there was a lot of chirping on the ice throughout the game. For Hopwo, how Swift Current handled the win is something he says him and the Tigers won’t forget ahead of their next matchup.

“We hear them cheering at the end of the game, kind of put some salt in the wound and we bring that negative energy into next weekend and perform,” Hopwo said. “They handled their win differently than I would’ve and I think that’s our mindset going in.”

For Desjardins, he says his team won’t have a difficult time getting motivated for Friday and Saturday’s rematch against the Broncos.

“I think that score sheet will get us ready.”

Puck drops at 7 p.m. for the Tigers v.s. Swift Current season opener Friday night in Swift Current. The Tigers home opener is on Saturday, also against the Broncos, and it gets underway at 7 p.m..

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