#WHLPlayoffs Roundup: Dahlstrom’s heroics draw Tigers even with Hurricanes

Tyler Barrett


Medicine Hat Tigers (3) at Lethbridge Hurricanes (2) – OT
Series tied 2-2
Game 5: Friday, April 14 – Canalta Centre, Medicine Hat – 7:30 p.m. MT

John Dahlstrom has extended the Tigers’ season.

It wasn’t that Medicine Hat had exhausted its nine lives, but falling behind 3-1 to the Lethbridge Hurricanes wouldn’t have been a favourable position. The Swedish import scored in overtime to give the Tigers a 3-2 victory and draw the best-of-seven series even at two games apiece Wednesday night.

There was plenty that happened before Dahlstrom’s overtime heroics, so let’s build it up first.

The Hurricanes jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, setting the tone in the first period. Estephan started it all off, opening the scoring 10:25 into the first period. Before the period came to a close, Egor Babenko turned and sent a low shot past Michael Bullion to make it 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.

The Tigers weren’t content with a 2-0 deficit heading into the third period and it was veteran Chad Butcher connecting with 1:54 to go in the second period, getting Medicine Hat on the board and cutting the Hurricanes lead to one.

With the Tigers almost out of lives, Max Gerlach – the product of Flower Mound, Texas – tallied a power-play goal with 3:32 to go in regulation, tying the game 2-2 to force overtime.

Having earned an opportunity with the extra period, the Tigers made the most of that chance.

After both teams came out with good pace, Dahlstrom scored 11:32 into the first overtime period to give the Tigers a much-needed 3-2 win, drawing the best-of-seven series even at 2-2 through four games.

Bullion made 28 saves for the win, while Stuart Skinner turned in an astounding 56-save performance in defeat.

Rather than trail 3-1 in the series, the Tigers now head back to Medicine Hat for Game 5 with an even split through four outings.

Speaking of Game 5, it goes Friday night (7:30 p.m. MT) at the Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat.

Kelowna Rockets (7) at Portland Winterhawks (2)
Rockets lead series 3-1
Game 5: Friday, April 14 – Prospera Centre, Kelowna – 7:05 p.m. PT

Reid Gardiner registered a four-point night, grounding the Portland Winterhawks as the Kelowna Rockets skated to a resounding 7-2 victory to take a 3-1 series lead Wednesday night.

Carsen Twarysnki scored 1:48 into the first period and the game was already off to a bad start for the host Winterhawks.

Once the second period rolled around, Gardiner struck for his seventh of the post-season only 2:07 in before adding a power-play tally 3:42 later, extending Kelowna’s lead to 3-0.

Cody Glass provided a reply for the Winterhawks, but the Rockets roared back with three more of their own to take a 6-1 lead into the second intermission.

Nick Merkley made it a 4-1 game, converting on a rare playoff penalty shot with 5:51 to go in the second period. From there, Calvin Thurkauf recorded back-to-back goals to all but end the Winterhawks’ night.

Caleb Jones provided another power-play goal for the Winterhawks late in the third, only to see Rodney Southam score a short-handed dagger less than two minutes later, rounding out the scoring.

Michael Herringer made 35 saves for the win, while Cole Kehler was chased from the Winterhawks crease after surrendering six goals on 32 shots. Shake Farkas came on to start the third period and stopped seven of eight attempts.

The Rockets will look to close out the Winterhawks Friday night (7:35 p.m. PT) at Prospera Place in Kelowna.

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