Coming off a lacklustre performance Tuesday at Canalta Centre, the hometown Medicine Hat Tigers looked to get back into the win column against the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The Tigers were woeful in a 4-0 loss Tuesday at the hands of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Added to that recent history, the Warriors have had success in the Gas City of late, winning both meetings at Canalta Centre last season. In fact, the Warriors won three of four over the Tigers during 2018-19, dropping the fourth contest in overtime.
Moose Jaw opened the scoring six minutes into the affair when 20-year-old Owen Hardy powered his way down the boards and drove the Tigers net. Garin Bjorklund made the initial save, but Hardy batted the rebound over the goal line for his ninth of the season.
Hardy, appearing in his 278th Western Hockey League game, came over to the Warriors from the Vancouver Giants during the off-season.
Although the Tigers trailed, they carried the play for much of the first frame, outshooting Moose Jaw 17-7.
The hosts managed to tie the game at the 17:13 mark when Nick McCarry finished off some nifty puck movement in the Warriors zone, beating Adam Evanoff from close quarters for his fifth of the campaign.
While Noah Danielson and Trevor Longo earned assists on the play, it was Cole Clayton who initiated the scoring chance. Clayton tracked the puck down just inside the Warriors blue line then turned quickly and whipped a cross-ice pass to Longo to get the scoring play started.
Medicine Hat kept the pressure on the Warriors in the second stanza, peppering Evanoff with 18 more shots, while scoring twice.
James Hamblin finished off a three-on-one rush, taking a pass from Longo and burying a shot high stick side for his 15th of the year.
Clayton was the setup man again on the Tigers’ third goal, firing a pass rink-wide to Tyler Preziuso, who pulled the trigger and beat Evanoff cleanly for his seventh of the season. Hamblin, who leads the team with 35 points, collected a helper on the insurance goal.
The teams skated through a scoreless third period, highlighted by a spirited bout between Hardy and Parker Gavlas, both 20-year-olds. Gavlas was playing his second game after serving a four-game suspension for a check to the head in Prince George while the Tigers were on their swing through the B.C. Division.
Medicine Hat improves to 15-7-1, while Moose Jaw drops to 9-10-1.
Around the WHL
Other Central Division teams in action Friday were the Swift Current Broncos (5-13-1-2), which dropped a 6-0 decision to the Regina Pats (4-14-2).
The Calgary Hitmen (12-6-2-1) waltzed into Brandon and knocked off the Wheat Kings 4-3 in overtime.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes (14-7-0-3) lost at home to the East Division-leading Prince Albert Raiders 5-3.
Ice Chips…Three stars were Hamblin, Preziuso and Evanoff…The Tigers were 0-for-1 on the power play, while Moose Jaw was 0-for-3…Medicine Hat scratched C Bryan Lochner and D Damon Agyeman…Moose Jaw played without Brayden Tracey, who was serving the second of a two-game suspension for a check from behind. Last season, Tracey scored five goals and added four assists in four games against the Tigers…The Tigers have played 10 of their 23 games on home ice…The game was the Tigers’ first of four matchups against the Warriors, with the next battle between the Trans Canada foes set for Nov. 29 in Moose Jaw…Next home game for the Tigers is Saturday when the Prince Albert Raiders come calling. Puck drop is 7:00pm.
1. MJ Hardy 9 (Zabransky) 6:00. 2 MH McCarry 5 (Danielson, Longo) 17:13
3. MH Hamblin 15 (Longo) 2:39. 4. MH Preziuso (Clayton, Hamblin) 4:26.
Penalties: MH Hopwo (tripping) 9:58; MJ Zabransky (hooking) 11:07; MH Hopwo (hooking) 18:36
Penalties: MH Gavlas, MJ Hardy (fighting majors) 1:14; MH Bench Minor (served by Sillilnger) 6:54.
Shots on Goal: MH: 17/18/9: 44. MJ: 7/5/12: 24.
Goaltenders: MH: Bjorklund 7-1-0 (60:00) 23/24. MJ: Evanoff 3-2-0 (60:00) 41/44.
Attendance – Canalta Centre: 2,506