Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Tigers deliver win over Giants in Ridley’s 3,900th game

James Hamblin had three points for the Tigers on Wednesday.
    The Medicine Hat Tigers ensured a milestone night for team’s iconic play-by-play voice would be a memorable one.
    On Wednesday before 2,791 spectators at the Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat, the Tigers slipped past the B.C. Division leading Vancouver Giants 4-3 in a back-and-forth WHL regular season clash. Captain James Hamblin had two goals and an assist to power the Tigers to their fourth straight win.
Medicine Hat has won all four of its outings since returning to action from the WHL Christmas break.
    Wednesday’s game marked the 3,900th Tigers contest called by Bob Ridley, who is the team’s legendary play-by-play voice. Ridley is the only play-by-play voice the Tigers have had as they play through their 49th season of existence.
    No one is close to Ridley’s mark for games called as the play-by-play voice of one hockey team at any level.
    To date, Ridley has called 3,474 of the Tigers 3,475 regular season games. His total also includes the one standings tiebreaker game the club appeared in, all of the Tigers 405 games in the WHL playoffs and all 20 of their contests in the Memorial Cup tournament.
    The Tigers have appeared in the Memorial Cup in 1973, 1987, 1988, 2004 and 2007 and won the event in 1987 and 1988.
Bob Ridley called his 3,900 game for the Tigers.
    As it stands already, someone could call 80 games on average between the regular season and playoffs each season for 48 seasons and still fall short of Ridley’s current total of 3,900 games called.
    For most of his broadcasting career, Ridley drove the team bus as well. He gave up those duties about four years back.
    If the Tigers make the WHL playoffs this season, Ridley would be targeted to reach 4,000 games near the end of next season, which would be the Tigers 50th anniversary campaign.
    Wednesday’s victory allowed the Tigers to improve to 21-15-1-2, while the Giants, who still lead the B.C. Division, fell to 23-11-2 with a third consecutive loss.
    At the moment, the Tigers hold the first wildcard position in the WHL’s Eastern Conference with 45 standings points. They hold a lead of seven points over the Calgary Hitmen (17-16-3-1) and nine points over the Brandon Wheat Kings (15-14-3-3).
    The Hitmen have two games in hand on the Tigers, and the Wheat Kings have four games in hand on Medicine Hat. At the moment, Brandon is sitting out of a playoff spot.
    Hamblin opened the game’s scoring at the 15:14 of the first period to allow the Tigers to head into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
    Early in the second period, the Giants scored two goals 22 second apart from each other to go ahead 2-1 coming off the sticks of Davis Koch and Justin Sourdif. Following Sourdif’s goal, the Tigers called a timeout to settling things down on their side.
    With 5:15 remaining in the second, Hamblin scored his second of the night to force a 2-2 tie after the Tigers caused a turnover on the forecheck. Just 33 seconds after Hamblin tied the game, centre Elijah Brown potted his sixth goal of the season to give the Tigers a 3-2 edge.
Hayden Ostir scored the winning goal for the Tigers
    At the 8:48 mark of the third, right-winger Hayden Ostir scored for the Tigers to give the host side a 4-2 edge. Hamblin picked up an assist on Ostir’s goal.
    The Giants didn’t go away. With 8:21 remaining in the third, Lukas Svejkovsky scored for the Giants to cut the Tigers lead to 4-3.
    Vancouver pushed hard the rest of the way in search of the equalizer, but Tigers veteran 19-year-old goaltender Jordan Hollett, who was playing in his 100th career WHL regular season game, slammed the door at that point.
    Hollett made 29 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Tigers. David Tendeck turned away 32 shots to take the setback in goal for the Giants.
    The Tigers return to action on Friday, when they host the Kootenay Ice at 7:30 p.m. local time at the Canalta Centre.
    The Giants resume game action on Friday, when they travel to Lethbridge to face the Hurricanes at 7 p.m. local time at the Enmax Centre.

Shirley named assistant captain for Canada

Grace Shirley will be an assistant captain for Canada.
    Saskatoon Stars captain Grace Shirley was placed on the leadership group for Canada’s under-18 women’s team.
    On Monday, the 17-year-old centre was named an assistant captain for the team. Shirley is playing in her fourth full season in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League, and she leads the circuit in scoring with 19 goals and 15 assists for 34 points in the current campaign.
    The Saskatoon product is the third all-time leading scorer in the history of the SFMAAAHL piling up 89 goals and 63 assists for 152 points in 100 career regular season games.
    Defender Maggie MacEachern, who is from Brooklin, Ont., will serve as Canada’s captain, and defender Alexie Guay, who is from Magog, Que., will be an assistant captain.
    Canada opens play at the under-18 women’s worlds in Obihiro, Japan, on Saturday against Sweden. The under-18 women’s worlds run through to Jan. 13.
    Shirley is playing in the under-18 women’s worlds for the second consecutive year for Canada.

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