April 16th, 2024

Tigers drop Game 3 in overtime Tuesday

By James Tubb on April 2, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Tigers goaltender Zach Zahara squares up to make a save on Red Deer Rebels forward Carson Latimer in the first period of Game 3 Tuesday at Red Deer’s Peavy Mart Centrium. Medicine Hat lost 4-3 in overtime.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com

RED DEER

For the second time in their first-round series, the Medicine Hat Tigers lost in overtime.

After tying the game up with 35 seconds left, Medicine Hat couldn’t capitalize in the extra frame, dropping Game 3 4-3 to the Red Deer Rebels who hold a 2-1 series lead.

Head coach Willie Desjardins says his group worked hard but didn’t capitalize on their chances like Red Deer did.

“Our guys played hard, I thought they played really hard,” Desjardins said. “I thought our battle was good, I thought that the guys worked hard throughout the lineup.”

Medicine Hat was without forward Cayden Lindstrom who took warmups but did not play. Desjardins had no update on his status for Game 4.

For the third straight game, the Tigers opened the scoring.

Medicine Hat had a rush opportunity that ended with Shane Smith firing a shot on net that created an open rebound for Hayden Harsanyi who knocked it in into the net. Gavin McKenna had the second assist on Harsanyi’s first of the playoffs, putting them ahead 9:48 into the frame.

Medicine Hat looked destined to head into intermission with the lead before Red Deer capitalized shorthanded. Carson Latimer created a turnover in the Tigers end and skated down the ice to score with 0.4 seconds left in the frame. The Tigers outshot the Rebels 13-9 in the period. Derek Thurston had the lone assist.

Latimer says he didn’t realize how little time he had on the breakaway and didn’t hear the 4,040 fans telling him to shoot.

“Apparently guys were yelling at me and I didn’t hear,” Latimer said. “I was gonna do the same thing regardless of the time but I lucked out there for sure.”

Medicine Hat again opened the scoring, with an individual effort in the second. Oasiz Wiesblatt powered his way to the net while at four-on-four and found twine 6:12 into the period.

Red Deer answered back with two goals to grab a lead. On a power play 47 seconds after the Tigers goal, with Latimer one-timing a pass from Kalan Ljnd from behind the net. Hunter Mayo had the second assist.

The Rebels grabbed a lead with less than five minutes reminding in the period. Mayo fired a shot from the point that ticked off Zach Zahara’s stick and into the net at 15:10. Mats Lindgren had the only assist as Red Deer led 3-2 after 40 minutes.

Medicine Hat appeared to tie the game up early in the third. Reid Andresen knocked in a rebound off a rush opportunity that turned into the scramble. On the ice, the okay was called a good goal. After ref review, the goal was overturned due to incidental goalie contact by Tyler MacKenzie.

After pushing back all third period, the Tigers struck late to send the game to overtime. With Zahara on the bench, Andrew Basha scored with a laser that went top shelf with 35 seconds left in the game. McKenna and Rhett Parsons had the assists, as the contest headed to overtime for the second time this series.

The Tigers had some chances early in overtime before a penalty cost them. Wiesblatt got sent to the box for hooking and the Rebels cashed in on the man advantage. A shot on net created a scramble as the puck squirted loose to the left of Zahara and Samuel Drancak scored to play hero and seal a 4-3 Game 3 win.

Red Deer head coach Dave Struch says they don’t like the game being forced into overtime but he liked how the group responded throughout. He’s looking for more in Game 4.

“There’s lots more to give on both sides,” Struch said. Our guys know that as well, we haven’t had a full 60-plus minute game yet and we expect to get something out of them here tomorrow night.”

The Rebels took care of their special teams, converting on two of their six power plays. Medicine Hat was held scoreless on their three power plays, also surrendering a shorthanded goal.

Zahara made 32 saves, across the ice from him, Chase Wutzke stopped 35 shots. 

Game 4 of the series is Wednesday back at Red Deer.

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