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TIGERS DOMINATE HURRICANES IN HOME OPENER
Photo Courtesy: Randy Feere

Medicine Hat, AB — What a game. What a Home Opener. If you weren’t in attendance for the Tigers opening game on the 2016-17 season you sure did miss out. The game against their division rivals the Lethbridge Hurricanes had a little bit of everything, fights, hits, goals and saves. The Tigers however dominated the game from start to finish as the Hurricanes looked to lack any emotion in the game. Medicine Hat had all lines firing on the night including the top line of Chad Butcher, Zach Fischer and Mason Shaw combined for 11 points, 5 assists for Butcher.

In the opening period the crowd was buzzing as the Tigers were introduced for the 2016-17 season. The energy was flowing through the building and the Tigers fed off the crowd scoring the first goal of the new season at home with Zach Fischer potting his 1st of the season. Fischer ended the 2015-16 campaign with a flurry of points after being promoted to the top line with Butcher and Shaw. Kristians Rubins had another solid period as he threw some big hits and booming slap shots. Rubins, who got his first WHL point last night was paired on the top pairing with captain Clayton Kirichenko. The Tigers took the 1-0 lead into the intermission looking to improve on their performance.

Mark Rassell opened the second period with his 1st of the season 5 minutes in to increase the lead. Moments later a penalty to the Tigers put the Canes on the power play and Kord Pankewicz would pot his 1st of the season batting in his own rebound after Duncan McGovern stopped the initial shot. After the Hurricanes goal it was all Tigers as they poured 4 consecutive goals started by Fischer. James Hamblin would score a nice shorthanded marker as Pankewicz was attempting to break up the ice right in front of the goaltender Stuart Skinner, Hamblin swung his stick and batted the puck into the net past the unsuspecting netminder. Later in the period Fischer would collect his first career hat trick on the power play as he used his large 6’2 frame to get body position and battle his way to his 3rd of the night. Matt Bradley closed the period out with his 2nd of the year as the Tigers lead 6-1 after 40 minutes.

The third period opened with a early goal from Butcher, his first of the year just 29 seconds into the frame. Zane Franklin would pot his 1st goal of the season on the power play making a small dent in a dominating performance by Medicine Hat. The middle of the period had Tigers fans out of their seats as a 5 on 5 line brawl occurred when Igor Merezhko instigated an altercation between the benches, his second fight of the night. The situation unfolded into a line brawl as all 10 players on the ice decided to drop their mitts, littering the ice with gloves and sticks. Newcomers Cam MacPhee, Dalton Gally and Gary Haden were assessed fighting majors, their first of their careers while Tyler Preziuso and Caleb Fantillo were also involved. The brawl was almost expected as the physical play and feistiness continued throughout the game. The Tigers added 2 more goals in the period to cap off the night at 9. Newly acquired Jake Morrissey saw his first action in the Tigers net as he came into the game after it got out of hand, making sure 16 year old McGovern was protected from any funny business. The night was dominating and the Tigers found themselves their first victory of the season.

TIGERS STAT LINES:

  • Chad Butcher – 1G, 5A
  • Zach Fischer – 3G
  • Clayton Kirichenko – 3A
  • Mark Rassell – 2G, 1A
  • Mason Shaw – 2A
  • Matt Bradley – 1G, 1A
  • Tyler Preziuso – 1A
  • Krisitians Rubins – 1A
  • James Hamblin – 1G
  • Steven Owre – 1A
  • Ty Schultz – 1A
  • Max Gerlach – 1G

THREE STARS OF THE GAME

  1. Chad Butcher – MH – 1G, 5A
  2. Zach Fischer – MH – 3G
  3. Mark Rassell – MH – 2G, 1A

 

The Tigers are back in action next weekend as they will host the Saskatoon Blades Friday night at the Canalta Centre and then travel to Swift Current to take on the Broncos Saturday.

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