Article Courtesy: Ryan McCracken / MH NEWS
The Medicine Hat Tigers secured their first third-period comeback of the season on Tuesday night at the CN Centre.
The Tabbies rallied for six goals in a commanding final frame to shake off a two-goal deficit and steal a 7-4 victory from the Prince George Cougars after a shaky first period.
Ryan Chyzowski put the Tigers in front early by making good on a second-chance opportunity five minutes into action. After fanning on a chance in front, Chyzowski managed to corral the loose puck and rip a shot through Cougars goaltender Tavin Grant for his ninth of the season.
But Prince George pounced on a big chance of their own three minutes later before pouring on the offence. Vladislav Mikhalchuk benefitted from a fortuitous bounce when a Dennis Cholowski point shot was blocked in front, leaving Tigers goaltender Jordan Hollett out of position for a tap-in goal.
Kody McDonald pushed the Cougars out in front five minutes later when he finished off a set-up pass from Jackson Leppard for his team-leading 13th of the season, then Mikhalchuk struck again with a shot from the top of the circle to leave the Tigers in a two-goal deficit after 20 minutes.
Medicine Hat tightened things up defensively entering the second. While they found themselves in penalty trouble — playing eight minutes of the middle frame with four men — the kill kept Prince George at bay while generating a number of shorthanded chances in the scoreless period.
The Tigers opened the third on a power play with Brogan O’Brien in the box for tripping and James Hamblin wasted no time putting his team back in the contest. The 18-year-old centre redirected a hard pass from Max Gerlach past Grant to cut the deficit to one.
Preziuso knotted the game up just over two minutes later with his seventh of the season — beating Grant clean after walking into the slot — then Gerlach pulled the rug out with a spin-around shot to flip a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead through the first five minutes of the third.
Mark Rassell kept the offence rolling three minutes later — extending his point streak to five games with his 22nd of the season — then Ryan Jevne beat Grant shorthanded off the rush to chase the Cougar netminder from the crease. Grant allowed six goals on 32 shots.
O’Brien put a stop to the bleeding just over three minutes later to give the Cougars some life in the dying minutes of the game, but Jevne added an empty netter to secure the win and push Medicine Hat to 14-7-0-0 on the year.
Gerlach finished with a goal and two assists while Linus Nassen added two helpers from the back end.
Hollett locked up the 26-save victory, his ninth of the season. The Cougars slipped to 9-10-2-2 with the loss.
The Tigers will aim to sweep their two-game season series against the Cougars Wednesday night at 8 p.m.