June 19th, 2024

Tigers cool the Blazers ahead of busy week

By JAMES TUBB on February 28, 2023.

Medicine Hat Tigers defenceman Bogdans Hodass celebrates his first-period goal in a 7-3 win over the Kamloops Blazers on Saturday at Co-op Place. - NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

The Medicine Hat Tigers are in the home stretch, where every game and every point matters for the standings and potentially, a playoff spot. That’s why Saturday’s win over the league’s hottest team, the Kamloops Blazers, was even more important.

The Tigers broke the Blazers 11-game win streak as they beat the B.C. team 7-3 on Saturday to put themselves in sole possession of seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Head coach Willie Desjardins described the win as big but says with the time of year, they can’t reflect on it too long.

“The hard thing is as soon as this one’s over, it’s gone, because now we have lots of tough games ahead of us,” Desjardins said. “The one thing it does say, the Red Deer game was a big win for us up there, this is a big win. When you play against good teams and you find a way to win, it certainly helps you. But saying that, we have so many hard games ahead of us teams that are coming in are fighting for their life.

“There is a different type of game in Kamloops, a big team that already has their spots. We have lots of hard work ahead of us but it was nice to get this one.”

Andrew Basha had two goals and an assist on the night with Reid Andresen and Bogdans Hodass each adding a goal and an assist. Tyler MacKenzie and Brendan Lee each scored and Brett Calhoon notched his first WHL goal.

Basha says they wanted the win as much as they wanted to show Tigers fans how much they crave the post-season.

“We came in really prepared for this one and we knew what was coming,” Basha said. “They’re a great team obviously, they’re hosting the Memorial Cup. So we just played our game and I think people are starting to notice we’re a really tough team to play against when we play our game.”

Saturday night was full of returns to Co-op Place as former Tigers head coach Shaun Clouston was back behind the bench in the Hat for the first time since joining the Blazers ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Former Tigers forward Ashton Ferster also played his first game back in Medicine Hat since being traded ahead of this season.

“A little bit of disconnected play, not our best night but have to give a lot of credit to the team across the way from us, they were a determined group and played a heck of a game,” Clouston said.

As important as getting two points was on Saturday, the Tigers have an even more pivotal matchup tonight, as they face the Swift Current Broncos, who sit in eighth place of the conference, two points back of Medicine Hat. After Tuesday night the two teams have a home-and-home series to end the regular season.

The Tigers also host the WHL’s top team, the Winnipeg Ice on Wednesday night before the Edmonton Oil Kings are at Co-op Place on Friday.

“The win was big but we have to let it go right away and try to move on from it because with the games coming up, they don’t care what we did there,” Desjardins said. “You drop one of those and this game’s long forgotten. We’re going to have a battle on our hands and we have to be ready.”

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