#WHLPlayoffs Roundup: Tigers force deciding Game 7 with Hurricanes

Cindy Adachi


Medicine Hat Tigers (5) at Lethbridge Hurricanes (2)
Series tied 3-3
Game 7: Tuesday, April 18 – Canalta Centre, Medicine Hat – 7 p.m. MT

Facing elimination for the first time in the 2017 WHL Playoffs, the Medicine Hat Tigers came to play Sunday at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge.

The Tigers scored three times on the power play and Michael Bullion made 24 saves to backstop his club to a 5-2 win in Game 6, forcing a seventh and deciding game back in Medicine Hat.

The back-and-forth battle between the Tigers and Hurricanes was out in classic fashion during the first period Sunday night. With an early 5-on-3 power-play opportunity, Max Gerlach continued his hot play, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead 5:13 into the game. Then it was Egor Babenko picking up a loose puck, wheeling across the top of the slow before firing a quick wrist shot high short side from the faceoff circle to knot the game 1-1 midway through the first period.

Penalty trouble continued to haunt the Hurricanes as the period progressed. After tying the game 1-1, the hosts handed the visiting Tigers another 5-on-3 power-play opportunity. This time around, just as the 5-on-3 expired, Matt Bradley banged home a bouncing puck as Medicine Hat reclaimed a one-goal lead with seven minutes to play in the first period.

After surrendering two power-play goals, the Hurricanes utilized special teams to their advantage. Parked at the backdoor, Babenko took a cross-ice feed from Tyler Wong, burying into an open cage to tie the game 2-2 after 20 minutes of play.

After a scoreless second period, the Hurricanes found themselves in penalty trouble once again to being the third period. With Jadon Joseph serving a high-sticking minor, a point shot was redirected by Steven Owre in the high slot, eluding Hurricanes goaltender Stuart Skinner. That power-play goal came 4:20 into the third period and served as the Tigers’ third goal with the man advantage in the contest.

With only eight minutes to go in regulation, Bradley pounced on another loose puck, sending it past Skinner to double the Tigers’ advantage in the late moments of the third period.

Over the final five minutes of regulation, the Hurricanes enjoyed a handful of quality scoring opportunities in and around the crease of goaltender Michael Bullion. The Tigers managed to weather the storm and with Skinner at the bench for the extra attacker, John Dahlstrom hit the empty net to extend the lead to 5-2, all but icing the victory for Medicine Hat.

Skinner made 32 saves in defeat.

Bradley (2G-1A), Dahlstrom (1G-2A), Mason Shaw (3A) and David Quenneville (2A) brought big-game performances for Medicine Hat.

Babenko scored both goals for Lethbridge, with Wong (2A) contributing.

The two teams will reset and play a winner-take-all Game 7 Tuesday night (7 p.m. MT) back at the Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat.

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