All night long, the Medicine Hat Tigers forced the Red Deer Rebels to move the puck in their own zone.
It was advantageous as the Tigers scored a 5-3 victory over the Rebels by using their forecheck.
“We want to be relentless, four lines wave after wave. We want to play fast, that aggressive style, we’re really on our d-men to get up, when our d-men are up we are on our forwards to make sure they are backing them up,” said Tigers assistant coach Joe Frazer
The game’s first goal came nearly seven minutes into the period and it was on the forecheck that the Tigers forced the Rebels into making a sloppy play in their own end. Eric Van Impe‘s eventual point show was tipped in front of Ethan Anders and Ryan Chyzowski gave Medicine Hat the early lead.
The first period was filled with sloppy play by both teams and it showed when nearly two and a half minutes later Arshdeep Bains of the Rebels collected a rebound of a Chris Douglas shot and tied things up at one.
Another two and a half minutes later and Zak Smith was able to get a backhand shot behind Evan Fradette on a breakaway while the Rebels we’re shorthanded. Smith had out raced two Tigers players once he poked the puck past the Tiger defender on the blueline.
The Rebels third goal of the period came off the stick of Josh Tarzwell. His third goal of the preseason came while cutting in front of Fradette and tucking the puck between the freshly acquired goalie’s legs to make it 3-1 with just over five minutes to play in the first period.
A 2-on-1, 46 seconds later spelled disaster for the Rebels two goal lead. Chyzowski’s pass to Cole Sillinger was on the mark and Sillinger made no mistake.
Just nine seconds later the Tigers tied the game. Anders gave up a massive rebound to Jonathan Brinkman Andersen and he was left with a wide open cage. Bryan Lockner‘s cannon of a shot was well placed and Anders had no chance to make it over to the far side to make the save.
“The first period was a little sloppy by both teams,” added Frazer
Rebels head coach and GM Brent Sutter agreed with his counterpart’s assessment, “That first half of the game, I thought it was a sloppy game.”
The Tigers retook the lead a little more than five minutes into the middle frame. This time the team scored on one of their six power plays. 2000-born veteran defenseman Cole Clayton fired a shot that went off the post and into the back of the net behind Anders.
With the lead regained, the Tigers didn’t look back. Their forecheck poured it onto the Rebels defense, forcing them to turnover the puck in their own end often. They also plugged up the neutral zone with four players on many attempts by the Rebels to gain the offensive zone.
“We touched on the neutral zone a little bit in practise this week. It was definitely better than it was last week against Regina.” said Frazer
The period ended with the Tigers holding onto the one goal margin, they outshot the Rebels 11-6 in the period.
Red Deer pushed back in the third period, powered by the line of Bains, Smith and Douglas. “They were a good line tonight for us, they were the best line, it wasn’t even close,” Sutter concluded.
Unfortunately for the Rebels it was too little too late as the Tigers iced the game with a Chyzowski empty-net-goal. The final, 5-3 Tigers.
Rebel Yell… Medicine Hat was 1-for-6 on the man advantage while Red Deer was 0-for-2… Final shot were 31-24 in favour of the visitors. Douglas led all players with six shots on net, Chyzowski had five for the Tigers. Fradette allowed three goals on the first eight shots he faced, then stopped the next 16 to allow his team to come from behind and score four unanswered goals. Anders made 25 saves.
The Rebels final game of the preseason goes on Sunday afternoon in Calgary as they take on the Hitmen at 2 pm.