TIGERS HUNT DOWN COUGARS 7-3
Article Courtesy: Ryan McCracken / MH NEWS
It may be the home of the Prince George Cougars, but the CN Centre belongs to the Medicine Hat Tigers.
The Tigers collected their 10th consecutive victory inside the walls of the CN Centre with Wednesday’s 7-3 drubbing — a streak dating all the way back to Dec. 12, 2007. While the Cougars looked poised to break the spell thanks to Brogan O’Brien’s early opening goal, the Tigers responded with an offensive onslaught to sweep the two-game season series and stretch their lead on the Western Hockey League’s Central Division to nine points with a 15-7-0-0 record.
Gary Haden kicked off Medicine Hat’s scoring four minutes after O’Brien’s marker, deflecting a slow backhand from Jaeger White past Cougars goaltender Taylor Gauthier for his sixth of the season. While Prince George kept the pace entering the final minute of the first, James Hamblin took away the lead with 17 seconds left on the clock by shoveling a behind-the-net setup from Max Gerlach past Gauthier.
The Tigers continued the onslaught early in the middle frame. First Haden teed up Gerlach for a well-placed one-timer to double the lead, then Hamblin struck for his second of the night with a highlight reel deke just 28 seconds later.
But they weren’t done there. David Quenneville converted on the power play a few minutes to chase a Cougar goaltender for the second consecutive night. The 19-year-old blue liner crept down from the point and fired a cross-ice feed from Rassell into the back of the net — extending Rassell’s point streak to seven games. Gauthier was replaced by Isaiah DiLaura after allowing five goals on 18 shots.
The goaltending change allowed Prince George to settle things down before Kody McDonald tucked a rebound past Michael Bullion to cut into the growing deficit. While Ryan Jevne put a stop to the momentum with his second shorthanded goal in as many nights, McDonald struck again just over a minute later to give the Cougars some life at the end of 40 minutes.
Prince George pushed for a window back into the game in the third but Bullion was ready for every one of their 14 shots in the frame. Rassell drove in the final nail with five minutes left in regulation by firing a feed from Dylan MacPherson past DiLaura for his 23rd of the season. Rassell has tallied 11 goals and four assists in his seven-game point streak.
Bullion picked up the victory with 42 saves, DiLaura stopped 22 in relief of Gauthier. Prince George slipped to 9-11-2-2 with the loss.
The Tigers move on to Kamloops to take on the Blazers (9-13-0-0) Friday night before closing out their four-game road trip Saturday against the Kelowna Rockets (12-7-2-1)