Kootenay pays a visit, Tabbies win 4-1
Tigers captain nets hat trick in 4-1 win over Kootenay Ice
Mark Rassell added a hat trick to his growing list of early-season accomplishments on Tuesday night at the Canalta Centre.
The Medicine Hat Tigers captain scored a pair in the first period before completing his first hat trick of the year in the third to lead his team to their fifth straight win in a 4-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice.
“It feels good. I’ve had plenty of opportunities where I’ve scored two goals but I hadn’t quite been able to get the hat trick,” said Rassell. “I’m happy I got my first two pretty quickly and had the rest of the game to find that third one.”
Ryan Jevne kicked off the scoring with his fifth of the year. The 19-yearold winger took a cross-ice feed from Ryan Chyzowski off the skate then fired the puck through Ice goaltender and former Tiger Duncan McGovern to give his team an early lead.
Mark Rassell kept the pressure on two minutes later by deflecting a Dalton Gally point shot past McGovern. The play went to a review, but it was determined Rassell’s stick was below the cross bar when he made contact with the puck, and the goal stood.
The 20-year-old Calgary product went right back to it three minutes later, drawing a penalty shot and beating McGovern clean on the ensuing chance with a low shot to the glove side. It was the third consecutive game in which Rassell scored on a former teammate after potting three on Calgary Hitmen goaltender Nick Schneider over the weekend’s home-and-home set.
“It’s so weird. When I get breakaways I don’t know what to do because I have my goto moves and they know them,” said Rassell. “That penalty shot on Duncan, I didn’t know what to do but I figured I would go out there and try to surprise him with a shot and clearly it worked.”
“I had déjà vu probably 50 times on the ice today, not recognizing which jersey was my team,” added McGovern. “I’ve built a lot of relationships here in Medicine Hat even though I was only here for a couple years.”
Kootenay mustered a response in the dying seconds of the opening period when winger Sebastian Streu chipped a puck past Tigers netminder Jordan Hollett with just three seconds left on the clock. “They threw everything at us and we expected that. Kootenay has a good team. They’re playing much harder with much more structure,” said Tigers head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston. “I thought we did a good job of mucking around and battling in front of the net.”
The goaltenders tightened things up in the middle frame. Hollett and McGovern both closed out the second with 10 saves apiece to preserve Medicine Hat’s two-goal lead entering the third.
Rassell completed the hat trick with seven minutes left in the third by firing a rebound past McGovern for his team-leading 20th goal of the season.
While Kootenay amped up the pressure in the third and directed 13 pucks on Hollett in the frame, the 18year-old netminder stopped every one — for a total of 30 in the contest — to lock up the victory and push Medicine Hat to 13-6-0-0 on the year. McGovern took the 23-save loss, dropping Kootenay to 8-12-1-0.
“They got a couple quality chances but I think our team did a pretty good job of keeping it to the outside,” said Hollett. “We knew they were going to push hard, every team does down two goals … Obviously it was huge to get that fourth goal instead of giving up a second.”
Rassell has collected 11 points through his last four games for a total of 29 on the season.
Tigers centre James Hamblin was missing for a second straight contest. The 18-year-old Edmonton product is day-to-day after tweaking his knee in Friday’s 4-2 win over the Calgary Hitmen.
The Tigers return to the Canalta Centre Friday to host the Swift Current Broncos (13-4-1-0) at 7:30 p.m.
Medicine Hat Tigers captain Mark Rassell beats his former teammate Duncan McGovern on a penalty shot during the first period of Tuesday's Western Hockey League game against the Kootenay Ice at the Canalta Centre.