Friday, 2 October 2015

Owre redemption equals Tigers victory

The Medicine Hat Tigers celebrate Steven Owre's overtime winner.
    Steven Owre went from goat to hero in a matter of minutes for the Medicine Hat Tigers.
    The 19-year Rocklin, California, product had what appeared to be a costly interference penalty in the final seconds of third period, with his club locked in a 2-2 draw in a WHL clash with the host Saskatoon Blades on Friday night. The infraction also wiped out the final seconds of a Medicine Hat power play.
    As the two clubs went into overtime, Owre had to wait for 97 seconds in the sin bin, as his team killed off a Blades four-on-three man advantage.
    Right after his penalty expired, the Tigers gained possession of the puck in their own zone. On a breakout, Ty Stanton and Cole Sandford teamed up to spring Owre into the Blades zone, and he slipped home a backhand shot to give the Tabbies a 3-2 victory before 3,550 spectators at the SaskTel Centre.
    Owre’s first goal of the season put a damper on a spectacular outing by Blades goaltender Brock Hamm, who made 35 saves in the setback. Hamm’s play was extremely key in getting the Blades to overtime, as he turned away 13-of-14 shots in the third period as the hosts found themselves pinned in their own zone for lengthy stretches.
Brock Hamm made 35 saves for the Blades.
    Saskatoon jumped out to a 2-0 in the first. Russian left-winger Nikita Soshnin netted his first of the season potting a power-play goal off a rebound from a Libor Hajek shot to give the Blades a 1-0 edge. With 1:33 to play in the opening frame, the Blades centre Cameron Hebig forced a turnover in the centre ice zone creating a two on nothing break into the Medicine Hat end. He fed a pass overtime linemate Ryan Graham, who put the host side up 2-0.
    The Tigers, who have made the WHL playoffs for 13 straight years and have advanced to at least the second round in 12 of those campaigns, began the rally in the second. They got on the scoreboard just past the midway point of the frame, when centre Matt Bradley slipped a pass across the front of the Saskatoon goal to linemate Chad Butcher, who fired the puck into an empty cage to cut the Blades lead to 2-1.
    After a fairly even first 40 minutes, the Tigers took over territorial play in the third outshooting the Blades 14-3 in the third. Just 2:32 into the third, 17-year-old centre Mason Shaw potted the equalizer for the Tigers deflecting home a pass from Max Gerlach to lock the contest into a 2-2 draw.
    Medicine Hat continued to press for the go-ahead goal, but couldn’t get the winner past Hamm until overtime.
Blades winger Ryan Graham tries to screen Tigers goalie Nick Schneider.
    During a four-on-three penalty kill in overtime, the Tigers did a strong job collapsing around their net preventing the Blades from getting a decent shot on goal.
    Nick Schneider made 20 saves to earn the win for the Tigers, who improved to 2-1. The Blades record moved to 1-0-2.
    The Tigers return to action Saturday, when they travel to Prince Albert to face the Raiders (7 p.m., Art Hauser Centre). The Blades host the Vancouver Giants on Sunday (2 p.m., SaskTel Centre).

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