November 29th, 2021

It’s gettin’ historic: Tabby tailspin reaches longest since turn of the century

By James Tubb on November 23, 2021.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Tigers forward Tyler MacKenzie reacts following his team’s 10th consecutive loss, a 6-2 setback to the Regina Pats on Tuesday at Co-op Place.
Twitter: ReporterTubb

The streak is at double digits.

The Medicine Hat  Tigers have now lost 10 straight games, their longest losing streak in more than 20 years, after being beat 6-2 by the Regina Pats Tuesday night at Co-op Place.

Medicine Hat’s last win came on Oct. 22, a 6-2 victory against the Prince Albert Raiders. Since then, the Tabbies have dropped 10 straight and only picked up three points through overtime losses.

Tigers head coach and general manager Willie Desjardins said post game he thought his team would have a better effort in the game.

“It was a game that was there for us and we just didn’t capitalize,” Desjardins said. “Regina played hard though, have to give them some credit. We just didn’t come up with the win and we have to find a way to win.”

For the first time in 10 games, the Tigers scored the opening goal of the contest to give them an early lead. Lukas Svejkovsky netted the tally 3:09 into the first to put the Tabbies up 1-0. Dru Krebs and Noah Danielson picked up the helpers on Svejkovsky’s ninth of the season.

But the Pats tied it up only 44 seconds later on Logan Njihoff’s sixth of the year. Both the Pats and Tigers went on to trade chances for the rest of the period, but neither would score as Regina outshot Medicine Hat 12-9 in the frame.

Medicine Hat was able to contain Pats forward Connor Bedard in the first period, but couldn’t keep him off the scoresheet in the second. The WHL’s first exceptional status player scored on a shot that squeaked through Tigers netminder Garin Bjorklund to put the Pats up 2-1, only 2:47 into the second.

“I kind of just shot and it was lucky to squeeze through him but I was happy to see it go in,” said Bedard. “We can play a lot better than that, but we knew coming in it was kind of a four-point game with them so close in the standings, so it was definitely pretty important to get that win.”

Regina doubled down a few minutes later on a man advantage for a 3-1 lead.

Drew Englot’s third of the season came on an Andrew Basha hooking penalty. The loss came in Basha’s first WHL game, as he drew into the lineup for veteran Corson Hopwo who was injured by a second-period hit in Saturday’s loss to the Winnipeg Ice.

Basha said his teammates made the debut easy for him and credited his line mates for the support on the ice.

“Danny (Noah Danielson) and Svej (Lukas Svejkovsky) are two heck of a good players and they make it so easy,” Basha said.

Regina carried the 3-1 lead into the third period, despite Medicine Hat matching their 11 shots through the middle frame.

A majority of the third trickled by without any offence, before Ashton Ferster scored his fifth of the season to bring the Tigers within one, with 6:39 left in the game.

But the Pats answered back again with three goals from Cole Carrier in the last five minutes to finish with the 6-2 win.

Bjorklund stopped 28 of the 34 Pats shots he faced in the loss, dropping the Tigers record to 4-10-3-1 on the season. Regina’s Matthew Kieper stopped 25 shots to collect the win, pushing Regina to 8-10-0 on the year.

Tigers veteran defence man Daniel Baker said they need to trust that what they are doing and the results will come.

“It’s just building every week in practice,” Baker said. “We work hard every week and we trust what we do and we trust that we are getting better. We might not be seeing it right now but we know it will come.”

Medicine Hat’s next chance to break the slide will come on the road, as the Tabbies have a two-game road trip through Manitoba this weekend. Friday night they take on the Brandon Wheat Kings before a rematch with the Winnipeg Ice on Saturday.

Desjardins said the Tigers are not in the best spot ahead of the road trip but said they will need to battle together if they want to get a win.

“Nobody is going to back up on you, you have to take care of it yourself,” Desjardins said.

“The challenge is there for everybody. Like everybody has to be in it, if guys start coming out it’s going to get worse. So what do you do, you have to stick together and you have to battle together.”
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