By Woodard, Dale on September 21, 2019.
The Highway 3 rivalry kicked off Friday night and it’s a safe bet Whoop Up Drive during rush hour hasn’t seen that much rubber.
The Medicine Hat Tigers will take Game 1 of the rivalry following a 4-3 shootout win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Western Hockey League opening night play at the Enmax Centre.
Bryan Lockner and Ryan Chyzowski scored in the final 10:33 of the game to erase a 3-1 deficit. When overtime solved nothing, James Hamblin, Brett Kemp and Chyzowski scored in the shootout to earn Medicine Hat the extra point.
“It was the first game where there are probably a bit of jitter from a lot of guys,” said Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio. “We obviously gave up more chances than we wanted. But it was a good step forward and a lot we can learn from. I thought we had chances to win the game. We just have to be a bit better.”
Cole Sillinger – on the power play – scored the other Medicine Hat goal, while D-Jay Jerome, Dino Kambeitz and Jacob Boucher replied for Lethbridge on a night where the Tigers outshot the Hurricanes 51-37.
“I think it was huge for us,” said Chyzowski, whose shootout goal was the winner after the Hurricanes scored on their first two tries. “Obviously it was the first night so it was good to get the nerves out of the way early and I think it kind of showed. We came together in the third and got our game together.”
The Hurricanes held a 2-0 lead by the midway point of the game. Jerome scored with 10 seconds left in the first and Kambeitz added another 10:31into the second.
Sillinger cut that lead in half on the man advantage 12:14 into the second before Boucher restored the Hurricanes two-goal lead with a shorthanded breakaway goal 2:48 into the third.
Hurricanes goaltender Carl Tetachuk stopped 48 of 51 shots, while Tigers netminder Mads Sogaard kicked out 34 of 37.The Tigers went 1-for-4 on the power play and the Canes were 0-for-4.
“I thought he was outstanding, it’s just tough to lose that way because he ends up letting in three at the end,” said Kisio of Tetachuk. “But I thought he gave us a chance to win and did a great job.”
Lockner keyed the Tigers comeback 9:27 into the third.
“We just kept going,” said Chyzowski. “We didn’t get down on ourselves. We trusted in the system and obviously we’ve been going hard in the past couple of weeks and we’re in pretty good shape now. I think our mentality is to take over in the third.”
Jerome and Kambeitz scored in the shootout before Sogaard stopped Zack Stringer on Lethbridge’s third attempt.
“That was a pretty intense game, the first ones usually are,” said Jerome. “We can’t give up that 3-1 lead, it’s just unacceptable, whether it was letdowns or not, it just can’t happen. We had it and it was unfortunate we let it slip from us.”
The teams go back at it tonight in the rematch in Medicine Hat at 7:30 p.m.
“I thought we played hard and Medicine Hat played hard,” said Kisio. “We got a point and they got two and that’s the way it worked out.”
Canes defenceman Alex Cotton had a pair of assists Friday night.
Friday’s announced attendance was 5,125.
The Hurricanes are back home Friday night when they host the Red Deer Rebels at 7 p.m.