February 29th, 2024

Tigers fall in close contest Friday to Broncos

By James Tubb on December 29, 2023.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Tigers netminder Ethan McCallum hangs onto the puck to make a save in the first period of a 3-1 loss Friday night at Co-op Place to the Swift Current Broncos.

“It’s not a loss, it’s a learning lesson. You have to just learn from it, know what we did wrong and just utilize it to make it become a strength for us moving forward.”

Medicine Hat Tigers goaltender Ethan McCallum said after their 3-1 loss Friday night at Co-op Place to the Swift Current Broncos.

The Tigers skated with and outshot the Broncos 30-29 but could not find the offence at the right time. They were held in the game by McCallum who made 26 saves in his eighth start of the season. The 16-year-old had a scary moment in the third period when a shot from Caleb Wyrostok caught him square in the mask and he fell back to the ice, motionless.

McCallum ended up getting back to his feet after being tended to by trainer Mikki Lanuk and returned to the action. The Brandon product says he doesn’t remember what happened in the moment and felt some ringing in his ear and jaw pain.

But after he got up and got a drink of water, McCallum says he felt fine and was ready to go, making a save on a shot off the next face-off.

“It was important for me, I let up two goals that obviously there was a chance I could have had and I owed it to the guys to keep it close and give them a fighting chance,” McCallum said. “Just had to reset no matter what happened before, just have to be ready for them.”

Swift Current got on the board early in the first and second periods, leading the game 2-0 through 40 minutes of play on two goals from the local product Wyrostok. Both goals the 20-year-old forward was left alone and fired a pass into the net.

Associate coach Joe Frazer liked the effort the Tigers showed and the chances they had but says it came down to the details.

“It wasn’t for lack of effort, we had some good chances and  just didn’t finish on them tonight,” Frazer said. “The two goals we gave up were those details where we had the guy and then just came off him, so we have to clean a few things up.”

The Tigers got on the board 2:25 into the third period with a tap-in goal from Hunter St. Martin setup on a pass from Oasiz Wiesblatt. Bogdans Hodass had the second assist on St. Martin’s ninth of the season. The 18-year-old echoed Frazer saying the game was lost in the details and says while frustrating, it’s something they have to build off.

“We could have had that game and it could have gone either way in lots of situations but we can’t do anything about now, we have to look to the next one,” St. Martin said. “You have to get the two points against Lethrbdige and look to the next game, we have to get the points. That was a was probably a four point game in the division but we’ll get them next time.”

The Tigers pushed late with the extra attacker and McCallum on the bench but it was the Broncos who capitalized with Wyrostok scoring on the empty net for the hat trick. In net for Swift Current, Matthew Kieper made 29 saves.

Medicine Hat has had their difficulties against Swift Current, with their head-to-head record at 1-3-0 following the loss Friday. The Tigers were without forwards Cayden Lindstrom and Tomas Mrsic for the second straight game. Both Lindstrom (upper body) and Mrsic (illness) are marked as day-to-day.

The Tigers (22-10-2) wrap up the 2023 calendar year with a home contest Saturday against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

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