Tigers tame the Cougars … again

 

The Medicine Hat Tigers scored seven for the second straight night, as they took the rematch over the Prince George Cougars 7-3 Wednesday at the CN Centre.

Trailing 1-0 midway through the first period, the Tigers exploded for five unanswered goals, including scoring three goals in less than two minutes early in the second period. This a night after scoring six goals in the third period, for a come from behind win Tuesday over Prince George.

Kody McDonald and Brogan O’Brien did all the scoring for the Cougars, as McDonald had a pair of goals. Taylor Gauthier started in net but was replaced by Isaiah DiLaura in the second period.

James Hamblin scored twice for Medicine Hat, who won their third straight road game. Max Gerlach led the way again, earning first star honours on back-to-back nights, after picking up a goal and four points. Ryan Jevne, Gary Haden, David Quenneville and Mark Rassell also scored for the Tigers. Michael Bullion was rock solid in net, turning aside 42 of 45 shots.

The game started with a bang, as Josh Anderson and Dalton Gally squared up at centre ice just 70-seconds in. The two stayed on their skates for quite some time, exchanging blows, before the linesmen finally stepped in. The Cougars’ Alternate Captain setting the tone early and it seemed to work.

O’Brien, who had four goals in his previous four games, opened the scoring just before the eight-minute mark. Kody McDonald made a great cross-ice pass over to O’Brien, who tipped in his ninth at 7:40. The Cougars caught a break, as the Tigers’ defenceman fell at centre, creating an odd-man rush for McDonald and O’Brien.

Prince George had another great chance to add to their lead but Bullion came up with an acrobatic and timely save on Jared Bethune. The Cougars’ forward busted through traffic and darted to the net, but he had his backhand attempt knocked down, as Bullion threw up his pad and pinned it against the back of his leg.

Medicine Hat found their footing in the last half of the first and they turned up the pressure. They tied it with under seven-minutes left when Gary Haden tipped the puck underneath Gauthier’s arm. Jaeger White kept the puck in and then floated a backhander to the net that Haden redirected at the top of the crease. The Tigers then grabbed their first lead of the game with just seconds left in the period.

Max Gerlach’s shot from the wall hit the side of the Cougars’ net but it took an odd bounce back out front and right to James Hamblin. He forced the puck through Gauthier’s arm with just 17-seconds left in the first. That goal coming just seconds after the Tigers power-play expired.

In the second, the Tigers picked up where they left off in the first, as they scored three goals in just 1:43. Gerlach made it 3-1 just before the two-minute mark, getting all of the puck on a one-timer from the face-off circle at 1:45. 28-seconds later, Hamblin made it 4-1 for the visitors, capitalizing on a turnover in the neutral zone. Hamblin came down the right-wing and went upstairs on the short-side at 2:13. Just over a minute after that, the Tigers made it 5-1, as David Quenneville scored from nearly the same spot that Gerlach did. On the Tigers second power-play, Quenneville took a cross-ice pass from Mark Rassell and cranked a one-timer past Gauthier from the circle at 3:28.

That was it for Gauthier, as he was replaced by DiLaura in goal, after Gauthier stopped 14 of 19 shots in 23-minutes of work.

Prince George pushed back, as McDonald made it 5-2 after he scored his first of two 11-minutes into the second. O’Brien, as he was falling, had his shot from the face-off circle stopped, but the rebound skipped over to McDonald who cleaned up in front.

Medicine Hat had an answer for that goal, as they went back up by four near the end of the frame and short-handed no less.

With the Cougars on their second power-play, it was the Tigers capitalizing after the puck bounced out from behind the Prince George net. Ryan Chyzowski was the beneficiary of that bad bounce against the Cougars, and he  swung it across to Ryan Jevne who put it into an open goal at 17:36; Jevne scoring his third goal since the third period of last night’s game and his second short-handed goal in as many nights.

The Cougars stuck with it and rebounded by scoring on the same power-play to cut the deficit to 6-3. McDonald took a pass from Dennis Cholowski, skated down the right-wing and went high over Bullion’s shoulder with just 1:09 left in the period. McDonald scoring his team-leading 15th to make it a three-goal game thru 40-minutes.

Prince George made a push in the third period, outshooting the Tigers 14-9 but they couldn’t solve Michael Bullion, the 20-year-old netminder from Anchorage, Alaska.

Mark Rassell sealed it with just over a minute left, showing off a quick release on a one-timer, after a pass from the wall by Dylan MacPherson. Rassell scoring his team-leading 23rd.

Final Score: 7-3 Tigers

Shots: 45-42 Cougars

Power-Plays: Cougars 1-3 Tigers 1-3

Three Stars: 1) Max Gerlach 2) Kody McDonald 3) Michael Bullion.

Prince George drops to 9-11-2-2 with the loss and their home record slips to 4-7-2-0. Medicine Hat improves to 15-7-0-0 on the season and it was their third straight road win. The Cougars head out on the road for two, stopping in Kamloops and Kelowna, before returning home December 1 and 2 to face the Vancouver Giants in a key BC Division match up.

-Prince George Cougars

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