The Prince George Cougars were 20-minutes away from a fourth consecutive win, before the Medicine Hat Tigers rallied in the third period, for a 7-4 victory Tuesday night at the CN Centre.
Down 3-1 to start the third period, the Tigers scored three times inside the first four-minutes to quickly turn a two-goal deficit into a 4-3 lead. When the dust settled, the Tigers scored six times in the final 20-minutes to upset the Cougars.
Vladislav Mikhalchuk scored twice in the first period and Kody McDonald added another, as the Cougars scored three unanswered after going down 1-0 early. Brogan O’Brien scored the Cougars’ fourth goal late in the third period in a comeback effort.
Tavin Grant started for Prince George but was replaced in the third period after surrendering six goals on 32 shots. Taylor Gauthier played the final nine-minutes and only faced one shot.
The root of the comeback for Medicine Hat was their special teams, as they scored twice on the man-advantage. and scored a short-handed goal, as they killed-off all six Cougars’ power-plays. Prince George at one point had six straight minutes of power-play time late in the second but couldn’t crack the Tigers PK.
Six different Tigers scored on Tuesday and Ryan Jevne finished with two goals, including the empty-netter late in final moments. Max Gerlach was awarded the first star, after finishing with a goal and three points- all in the third period. Jordan Hollett picked up the win for Medicine Hat, stopping 34 of 38 shots.
The visitors opened the scoring, as Ryan Chyzowski put the Tigers ahead just past the five-minute mark, sliding his shot from the left face-off circle under Grant’s pad. Prince George had a strong start despite that goal and they had quite the response after it too.
Not even three-minutes after Medicine Hat went up 1-0, Mikhalchuk tied it for Prince George, scoring at the side of the net, after Dennis Cholowski’s shot went off a leg and right on Mikhalchuk’s stick at 8:15. Cholowski with an assist on the Cougars first goal, after being introduced as team captain in the morning.
Prince George grabbed their first lead of the game five-minutes later and just after a power-play expired. McDonald made it 2-1 with seven-minutes left in the first, after he finished off a great pass from Jackson Leppard. Just after the Cougars power-play ended, Leppard, down on one knee, fired a pass down to McDonald at the post who banged it into an open net at 12:52. Prince George wasn’t done there either.
Mikhalchuk picked up his second of the game with just two-minutes left in the first period but it was after a terrific setup by Aaron Boyd. As his teammates were changing, Boyd, outnumbered three-to-one, came down the wing and circled the net, before firing the puck up to Mikhalchuk in the slot, who went post and in on the blocker side at 18:06.
After an early goal against, the Cougars responded with three unanswered goals to close out the first period.
Prince George had opportunities to add to their lead in the second period, including back-to-back power-plays late in the frame. The Tigers were short-handed for six of the last seven and half minutes of the second, after they were dinged for back-to-back penalties, including a four-minute high sticking penalty. Despite the run of power-play time, the Cougars couldn’t gain traction and that seemed to spark the Tigers going into the third.
With Cougars penalty caring over from the second, the Tigers wasted little time getting the comeback started. On the power-play, James Hamblin tipped in a pass in front to make it 3-2 just 38-seconds in.
Just two minutes after that goal the Tigers tied it, as Tyler Preziuso picked up the puck on the wall, walked in and roofed it over Grant’s shoulder at 2:54. A minute and a half a minute later, the Tigers were at it again.
Max Gerlach put Medicine Hat back ahead on a nice individual effort, as he grabbed the puck, spun around to his forehand and fired a dart over Grant’s glove at 4:24, making it 4-3.
The Tigers continued to ride the momentum, as their power-play added to the lead three-minutes after that go-ahead goal by Gerlach. Mark Rassell made it 5-3, scoring on a rebound at the top of the crease after Grant stopped the initial point-shot.
Medicine Hat added another midway through the frame and during a Cougars’ power-play. Short-handed, Ryan Jevne came down the left-wing and his wrist-shot got by Grant on the blocker-side, making it 6-3 for the Tigers near the midway mark of the third period. That sixth Medicine Hat goal spelt the end of the night for Grant, as Gauthier came in to play the final nine-minutes.
Brogan O’Brien gave the fans thoughts of a potential comeback attempt, scoring on a nice dish from Kody McDonald with five and a half minutes left to cut the deficit to 6-4, but that’s as close as the Cougars would get.
Ryan Jevne put the finishing touches on the Medicine Hat come from behind win, with an empty-net goal with 15-seconds left.
Final Score: 7-4 Tigers
Shots: 38-34 Cougars
Power-Plays: Cougars 0-6 Tigers 2-5
Three Stars: 1) Max Gerlach 2) Ryan Chyzowski 3) Vladislav Mikhalchuk
Prince George (9-10-2-2) looks to bounce back tomorrow, November 22nd, when they wrap-up the midweek double-header with the Medicine Hat Tigers (14-7-0-0). Tickets are available at the TicketsNorth box office at the CN Centre, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca
-Prince George Cougars