June 12th, 2024

Tigers sweep weekend with 6-3 win Saturday

By James Tubb on October 28, 2023.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Tigers defenceman Nate Corbet 'rides the trolley' celebrating his first WHL goal, the eventual game winner, in the third period of the Tigers' 6-3 win Saturday night at Co-op Place over the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The Medicine Hat Tigers continued their winning ways at home.

The Tigers doubled up the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday night, beating the defending WHL champions 6-3. Medicine Hat came into the contest off a 7-4 win Friday over the Edmonton Oil Kings, a victory that came from seven unanswered Tigers’ goals.

Associate coach Joe Frazer says the four point weekend matters as it kicks off the Tigers’ five-game home stand. He liked their first period  but he says the Tigers need to keep improving their starts to period.

“It was great to see a good first period, Evan May was great tonight and just a great bounce back effort by him,” Frazer said. “It was nice to see a good first period but coming out to start periods, we have to be and get better. We have to stop getting scored on the first shift to start periods. I liked the third period, we had the lead and we played a pretty good half-ice game where we kept a lot of pressure on them.

“Give (Seattle) a lot of credit, they’re missing a few key guys and they just kept on coming. There’s a reason they won a championship last year and and we knew they weren’t gonna go away. So it was a tough game, but it was great to get the one.”

The Thunderbirds played with only 16 skaters, 11 forwards and five defencemen, and were on the last of a six-game road trip through the Central division. Evan May was between the pipes for the Tigers, picking up his sixth win on the year after making 23 saves. Across the ice from him, Spencer Michnik made 22 saves in his fifth appearance of the season.

The Tigers, getting a much better start than their four-goal against first period Friday, opened the scoring 8:12 into the game capitalizing once again while on the penalty kill.

Forward Shane Smith gathered the puck on his own blue line and skated with defenders trailing, before going backhand for his 11th goal of the season. Bogdans Hodass had the lone assist on what was Smith’s second shorthanded marker and the Tigers’ sixth as a team on the year.

The Tigers continued momentum, striking 1:02 later when Reid Andresen picked up a puck just inside the o-zone and wired home his second of the year. Oasiz Wiesblatt and Andrew Basha had the assists on Andresen’s goal, the last offence of the first period as Medicine Hat outshot Seattle 10-8.

The Thunderbirds were the first one the board in the middle stanza. Luca Hauf wired a shot from the slot to cut the Tigers lead to 2-1 just 15 seconds into the second.

Medicine Hat regained the two goal lead on a tic-tac-toe goal from Tyler MacKenzie. The Tigers’ captain passed the puck to Cayden Lindstrom who sent it back to the captain, who blasted it home for his seventh goal on the year. Rhett Parsons had the second assist, Medicine Hat held into the 3-1 after 40 and also led in shots, 17-16.

The Tigers jumped early in the third period with a memorable goal that electrified the 3,245 Tigers’ faithful in attendance. Defenceman Nate Corbet activated from the point and picked up the loose puck before skating behind the net and scoring on a wraparound goal for his first goal in the Western Hockey League. Vasyl Spilka and Brett Calhoon picked up the assists on Corbet’s first, giving them a 4-1 lead 4:15 into the final frame.

Corbet was all smiles after the game and while he couldn’t remember the goal, was happy to re-live it.

“It was pretty incredible, I don’t really remember the play much, I saw it go in and saw the guys celebrating and realized I should maybe hit a celly too,” Corbet said. “It was just pretty surreal.”

Seattle answered back over a minute later, rattling off two goals within 26 seconds of each other to make it a 4-3 game. Antonio Martorana knocked the puck in on a jam play and Coster Dunn scored on a breakaway to add some suspense to the game.

With less than five minutes left in the game, Andresen struck again. The 18-year-old wired a puck just under the bar for his second goal of the night and third of the season. Wiesblatt and Gavin McKenna had the helpers on the Tigers’ insurance marker. Medicine Hat capitalized on an empty Seattle net, as Lindstrom scored his 13th of the season on the empty cage with Basha recording the assist.

The Tigers held on for the 6-3 win, picking up their ninth win of the season and putting them in first place of the WHL with a record of 9-4-1 and 19 points.

Medicine Hat continues their five-game home stand when they host the Portland Winterhawks and local product Ryan Miller on Wednesday at Co-op Place.

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