New ad­di­tion wastes no time in Tigers de­but

Medicine Hat News - - SPORTS - RYAN MCCRACKEN rm­c­[email protected]­hat­news.com Twit­ter: MHNMcCracken

Brett Kemp pulled up to the Canalta Cen­tre to join the Medicine Hat Tigers on Satur­day at 2 p.m. Six hours later he be­came the team’s new­est goal-scor­ing leader.

The 18-year-old cen­tre — ac­quired from the Ed­mon­ton Oil Kings in ex­change for 17year-old winger Josh Wil­liams at Thurs­day’s WHL trade dead­line — scored twice to pass Tabby cap­tain James Ham­blin for the team lead in goals with 24 while pow­er­ing his new squad to a 5-2 vic­tory over the Regina Pats.

“I just met the guys right be­fore the game, so it was a long day but it was nice to get the two points,” said Kemp, who played on a line with Eli­jah Brown and Bryan Lock­ner. “I think (Medicine Hat) and Ed­mon­ton are pretty close in terms of how they play. It was an easy tran­si­tion for my game. I’m just kind of try­ing to get com­fort­able with the lit­tle things that have been dif­fer­ent.”

Brown gave Medicine Hat an early edge when he jammed a re­bound past Pats goal­tender Dean McNabb six min­utes into the open­ing frame. The Tigers con­tin­ued to con­trol the flow of play into the fi­nal min­utes of the pe­riod, but Regina’s Ri­ley Krane con­verted on a late chance by tip­ping a Sergei Alkhi­mov shot past Hat net­min­der Jordan Hol­lett to set things back to even after 20 min­utes.

“It was a re­ally good game for our line,” said Lock­ner. “I thought we were click­ing right off the start, ever since the first shift. I think we’ve got to keep that go­ing.”

Kemp sprung into ac­tion five min­utes into the second pe­riod when he cut in on goal and ripped a feed from Lock­ner un­der the bar.

“I’m playing with re­ally good line­mates and that helps a lot,” said Kemp. “Ob­vi­ously you kind of have a lit­tle pres­sure on you com­ing in, but playing with those two guys, they’re un­be­liev­able play­ers.”

Kemp re­peated the feat on a power play three min­utes later by crash­ing the net and chip­ping a loose re­bound past McNabb to shift the mo­men­tum back in Medicine Hat’s favour while tak­ing over the goal-scor­ing lead.

“I thought he was in­volved early, he was around the puck, his stick was on the ice and on the puck, and he’s got some nice hands,” said Tigers head coach Shaun Clous­ton, adding he plans on keep­ing Kemp’s line to­gether when the Oil Kings come to town Satur­day. “Him and Brown seem to have a bit of chem­istry. He strug­gled a cou­ple shifts in the D-zone, so we prob­a­bly have to clear that up, but over­all just a ter­rific de­but.”

Se­bas­tian Streu an­swered for Regina five min­utes later by beat­ing Hol­lett over the glove with an ex­tra at­tacker out for a de­layed penalty, but Hat de­fence­man Cole Clayton quickly re­sponded in kind on a shot through traf­fic, then Li­nus Nassen added an­other goal from the point on a power play with seven sec­onds left in the frame to give the Tigers a three-goal cush­ion en­ter­ing the third. Nassen’s goal also chased McNabb from the net in favour of af­fil­i­ate backup Matthew Pe­senti to start the fi­nal frame.

“Too bad they scored right after that. We could have built a lot of mo­men­tum off that,” said Streu. “I thought the whole game, when we were 5-on-5, we were putting pretty good pres­sure on them. It’s just been the same story the past cou­ple games, we shoot our­selves in the leg tak­ing those dumb penal­ties.”

The Pats re­sponded with a more con­certed ef­fort to open the third and man­aged to hem the Tigers into their own end, but they were only able to muster a sin­gle shot on goal through the first nine min­utes of the frame de­spite some sus­tained zone pres­sure and an early power play.

Regina put to­gether an­other push later in the frame, but Hol­lett calmly kept them at bay to lock up a 20-save vic­tory and push Medicine Hat to 23-16-1-2 on the sea­son.

“He made some huge saves for us,” said Lock­ner. “If he doesn’t make a cou­ple it could go the other way. Our goalies this year have been re­ally good for us, we have a good one-two punch so go­ing later into the sea­son that’s go­ing to be good for us.”

McNabb set­tled the loss after al­low­ing five goals on 25 shots through 40 min­utes. Pe­senti stopped three in the third. Regina slipped to 1229-1-1 with the loss.

The Tigers re­turn to the Canalta Cen­tre Satur­day to host Wil­liams and the Oil Kings at 7:30 p.m.

NEWS PHOTO RYAN MCCRACKEN

Medicine Hat Tigers cen­tre Brett Kemp cel­e­brates after scor­ing a goal in a West­ern Hockey League game against the Regina Pats at the Canalta Cen­tre on Fri­day.

NEWS PHOTO RYAN MCCRACKEN

Medicine Hat Tigers cen­tre Lo­gan Chris­tensen clogs up a shoot­ing lane dur­ing a West­ern Hockey League game against the Regina Pats at the Canalta Cen­tre on Fri­day.

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