June 16th, 2024

Tigers eliminated from playoffs with Game 5 loss Friday

By James Tubb on April 5, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB The Medicine Hat Tigers embrace while waiting for the post-series handshake after falling 5-2 in Game 5 Friday night to the Red Deer Rebels at Co-op Place, losing thier first-round series 4-1.

The Medicine Hat Tigers season came to a close Friday night.

With a 5-2 loss in Game 5 of their first-round series with the Red Deer Rebels, the Tigers fall 4-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Head coach Willie Desjardins thought his team would win heading into Game 5. He credits the Rebels for their play and for taking the series.

“I thought we we’re going to have a really strong effort,” Desjardins said. “You gotta give a lot of credit to Red Deer, it’s not that we weren’t ready, they just beat us. You don’t get lucky to win four games in a series, you might get lucky to win one or two but you don’t get lucky on four, so you have to give them a lot of credit. They played hard and they battled all the way through.”

Red Deer opened the scoring with a pair of first period goals.

Carson Latimer scored 2:56 into the game, capitalizing on a rush opportunity. Jhett Larson had the lone assist.

They found twine less than eight minutes later, with Dwayne Jean Jr. scoring his first of the playoffs. Matthew Gard and Hunter Mayo had the assists. Jean Jr.’s goal ended starter Zach Zahara’s night, allowing two goals on nine shots. Ethan McCallum worked the rest of the game, with 13 saves.

Red Deer scored the lone goal of the second period. Frantisek Formanek capitalized on a loose puck, scoring with 4:12 left in the middle frame. Kai Uchacz and Kalan Lind had the assists on the eventual game winner.

The Rebels tacked on two more goals in the third period. Uchacz scored on a power play 4:37 into the frame, Mats Lindgren had the lone assist. Just 29 seconds later, Talon Brigley scored to make it a 5-0 game.

Uchacz says they spoke before the game about ensuring they closed out the series in five games.

“It was important for us to close it out tonight so¬†we don’t really give them any momentum if it was to head back to Game 6 in Red Deer,” Uchacz said. “We came in with the mindset that we just have to play our simple game, play the right way and be consistent for 60 minutes. I thought we did a pretty good job of that, they gave us a good push in the second but we stuck with it and pulled it with the win.”

Medicine Hat got on the board with two goals of their own in the third. Andrew Basha got the final touch on a scramble in front of Chase Wutzke, scoring his third of the series. Dru Krebs had the lone assist, making it 5-1 at the 10:57 mark.

Just under five minutes later, Nate Corbet redirected a shot from Reid Andresen at the point to make it a 5-2 game. Captain Tyler MacKenzie had the lone assist on Corbet’s first playoff goal.

The 5-2 scored held final as Wutzke made 36 saves and the Rebels celebrated advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

Medicine Hat led the game in shots 38-25 and was held scoreless on all five of their power plays. Red Deer capitalized on one of their three man advantages.

Following the postgame handshake at centre ice, the Tigers remained to salute the crowd of 5,263 in attendance.

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