The Medicine Hat Tigers (14-7) are a team that you have to put away when you have the chance. The Prince George Cougars (9-10-2-2) found that out the hard way on Tuesday night. They scored three straight in the first, to spot themselves a 3-1 advantage after 20 minutes. Then, despite lobbing 14 shots on net and having six straight minutes on the power play, they still only led by two after 40.
The Tigers then flipped the script on the Central Division’s recent luck when playing teams in the B.C. Division. Entering Tuesday, the Central was just a combined 3-12, when visiting teams in the Western Conference. The Tigers came back to score five straight in the third period and went on to take one on CN Centre ice 7-4.
Max Gerlach and Ryan Jevne had three point nights, while David Quenneville, Linus Nassen and Ryan Chyzowski added two apiece. Mark Rassell also scored for the sixth straight game in the road win.
Chyzowski netted his ninth of the year to open the scoring 5:25 in. With a Prince George defender all over him, he took three swings at a bouncing puck and he sneaked it in past goalie Tavin Grant’s blocker side.
Newly appointed team captain Dennis Cholowski helped the home team tie the game up a few minutes later. His shot from the point, caused a rebound to kick out to Vladislav Mikhalchuk and the Belarusian forward batted home the puck for his sixth of the year.
Some hard work by Brogan O’Brien and Jackson Leppard helped set up Kody McDonald for the go-ahead goal. O’Brien got it out of the corner and Leppard got the puck over to McDonald, to the right of netminder Jordan Hollett. McDonald then buried it for the 2-1 lead and his team-leading 13th of the year.
The Cougars then doubled their lead as Mikhalchuk buried a nice pass from Aaron Boyd with 1:54 left in the first. Even nicer than Boyd’s pass was his drive up the ice and how long he was able to control the puck in the Medicine Hat zone, while his team changed lines.
The Tigers would make them regret not padding to their lead as James Hamblin got his stick on the ice and deflected a pass along the ice by Max Gerlach past Grant to make the game 3-2 just 38 seconds into the third.
The goal came on the power play and was the first of three special teams goals they would net in the session.
Tyler Preziuso would add another marker 2:54 into the third to tie the game and Gerlach would pot a goal 1:30 later for the Tigers first lead. Rassell added a power play marker a few minutes later and Jevne would add one of his own while short handed. Just like that, the Tigers had scored five straight, taken a 6-3 lead and chased Tavin Grant out from between the pipes. He turned away 26 of 32 and was handed the loss.
Taylor Gauthier came in and allowed no goals on just one shot in over seven minutes of action.
The Cougars would make things a little interesting, by adding a goal from Brogan O’Brien with 5:33 left, but the Tigers would salt things away with an empty-net-goal by Jevne with 14 seconds left.
Hollett turned away 22 of 23 over the last 40 minutes and 30 of 34 overall to to get the win.
The two teams go at it again in Wednesday night in P.G. This was the first of a four-game B.C. road trip for the Tigers.
The Tigers now have an impressive seven point advantage for first in the Central, despite having three games in hand on the second place Kootenay ICE.