Medicine Hat, AB — The Medicine Hat Tigers’ third period performance powered them past the Moose Jaw Warriors to win the first game of their home and home series 5-2.
Trailing 2-1 heading into the final frame, rookie Cole Sillinger tied the game up 2-2 before assisting on two goals scored by linemate Brett Kemp, including one empty net goal. Daniel Baker added an empty net goal of his own with 31 seconds left to play to make it 5-2.
Moose Jaw opened the scoring by scoring two quick goals just over two minutes apart. Logan Doust and Owen Hardy were the goal scorers and the Warriors took an early 2-0 lead over the Tigers.
With less than seven minutes remaining in the first period. Cole Clayton dumped the puck into the Warriors’ end and goaltender Boston Bilous came out to play it but a fortuitous bounce sent the puck out front to Caleb Willms who was able to get it past a scrambling Bilous. Noah Danielson also collected an assist on Willms’ fourth goal of the season. The Tigers headed to the dressing room trailing 2-1 at the end of 20 minutes of play.
After a scoreless middle frame, Sillinger found the back of the net just under three minutes into the third period to tie the game up 2-2. Sillinger’s 16th goal of the season was assisted by Kemp and Baker.
With less than five minutes to play in the game, Kemp tucked the puck past Bilous to give the Tigers their first lead of the night. Sillinger assisted on the play.
In an attempt to tie the game Moose Jaw pulled Bilous with a minute and 17 seconds left in the game while the play was in the Tigers’ defensive zone. Nine seconds later Sillinger won the puck and fed it to Kemp who scored on the empty net. Kemp’s second goal of the night was his 20th of the season.
Bilous briefly returned to the net before being pulled a second time with 34 seconds left on the clock but once again the Tigers won possession of the puck. James Hamblin and Parker Gavlas combined to set up Baker to score on the empty net and seal the 5-2 Tigers victory.
Rookie goaltender Garin Bjorklund stopped 22 of 24 shots faced in the game while Bilous allowed three goals on 47 shots faced.
Medicine Hat is 27-12-1-11 and they will travel to Moose Jaw Saturday for game two of their home and home series, as well as the final meeting between these two hockey clubs this season.