It took extra time but the playoff-bound Medicine Hat Tigers pulled off their sixth straight win.
“I think it was just a matter of playing the full sixty and wearing them down eventually. Obviously, it took overtime but I think it was just a matter of time before we just kind of knocked through there,” said Ryan Chyzowski about the effort his team needed to win.
If it wasn’t for a 42-save effort from Ethan Anders, the Rebels might not have taken a point away in a building they have struggled in over the last number of years.
Early on, Anders had to be sharp, stopping several scoring chances from the Tigers. He kept Red Deer in it as early mistakes nearly cost them.
When you get early help from your goaltender, you sometimes get some breaks at the other end. A bizarre goal came for the Rebels as they pounded a puck off the end boards and it bounced out in front of Garin Bjorklund. In the end, it was Josh Tarzwell given credit for the goal, his 32nd of the season.
To that point, the Tigers had controlled much of the play with the puck, nearly doubling the Rebels’ shot count.
Penalties spelled the end of Red Deer’s first-period momentum.
17 seconds into a Red Deer penalty, Medicine Hat struck. After a point shot created a rebound in front of Anders, Elijah Brown found the puck and made it count. His 10th goal of the season tied the game at one.
Then it was Red Deer’s turn for some bad luck.
With 12 seconds left in the period, the Tigers took their first lead of the game.
Shorthanded, Ryan Chyzowski snuck behind the Rebels net and somehow got a shot past Anders. With Anders pressed against the post, the puck just snuck through him. Chyzowski’s 33rd goal of the season sent the teams down the tunnel with the home side up 2-1.
“We started off slow especially defensively in the first period. We saw the shots against. Once we got the bus legs out, we started moving which isn’t an excuse. It’s long enough into the season now but obviously we got better as it went along,” said Red Deer Rebels Assistant Coach Brad Flynn.
A little over four minutes into the middle frame, Joel Sexsmith scored his second goal of the season on a drop pass from Ben King. The shot slipped through Bjorklund’s pads and the game was tied once again.
More penalty problems came up in the second period for the Rebels as they once again gave up a quick goal. Just 17 seconds into the Tigers’ third power play of the night, they regained their lead.
Medicine Hat continued to do a good job of getting to pucks in the crease or slot area, creating some second and third chances. With the puck loose in the crease area, Cole Sillinger scored his 22nd goal of the season when he swatted the puck behind Anders.
Then, good fortune struck for Red Deer again. With seven minutes to play, the officials decided that a review of an Arshdeep Bains shot was needed. Bains batted the puck out of the air and behind Bjorklund. With a quick review of the footage, the puck was deemed to have been hit below the cross-bar and into the cage. Bains had his 18th goal of the season and a tie game.
The Tigers pressed hard but could not score in regulation. The teams needed extra time to sort out the contest where the Tigers were the eventual winners.
“He’s (Svejkovsky) pretty skilled. You never really can count him out. He’s pretty shifty. I just saw him going up the ice and just wanted to catch up and join the rush and he made a good play there to drop it and just shoot it,” said Chyzowski about his overtime marker.
With 1:46 played in the overtime, Chyzowski scored his second goal of the night. Lukas Svejkovsky dropped a pass and there was no chance for Anders to make the save. The Tigers took the extra point with a 4-3 victory.
“I thought Ethan played really well. I thought he would like to have that shorthanded goal back. But he responded the right way. He had his mind ready. He made the saves he had to make and made some big ones in overtime, made a couple of crucial saves to get us to overtime. Real good job rebounding after a tough one early,” said Flynn about Anders’ performance on Tuesday night.
“We got a point in a building that has been really challenging for us in the past two years. And again against a very good team so there is a lot of positives to take out of it and obviously it’s disappointing when you lose in overtime,” added Flynn.
“We knew it would be a tough game. Red Deer always plays us hard. Watch them forecheck — they are fast, they’re heavy and get contact. It’s huge to come up with two points,” added Tigers assistant coach Joe Frazer.
Rebel Yell… Three stars in the building were 1) Elijah Brown 2) Brett Kemp 3) Ryan Chyzowski. Medicine Hat outshot Red Deer 46-24. Anders had 42 saves in the loss; Bjorklund made 21 saves in the victory. The Rebels were 0-for-3 with the man advantage and allowed a shorthanded goal; the Tigers were 2-for-4. The win put Medicine Hat 4 points up on Lethbridge for second in the Central Division. Both teams have five remaining games. Next up for Red Deer is Swift Current on Wednesday night. Medicine Hat plays Friday in Swift Current.