MEDICINE HAT, AB – Mark Rassell was a man determined on Tuesday evening, adding another three goals to his blazing start to the season in a 4-1 Medicine Hat Tigers win over the Kootenay ICE.
For the second straight game it was the Tigers welcoming a familiar face between the pipes, as recently traded netminder Duncan McGovern got the start for Kootenay.
Not much happening until the 11:40 mark of the first, when a breakout by the Tigers allowed Ryan Chyzowski to throw it across to Ryan Jevne left all alone.
Jevne made no mistake putting it past his former teammate, giving Medicine Hat a 1-0 lead.
Medicine Hat again pressing in the attacking zone, Dalton Gally made a nice play to keep the puck in at the blue line.
Gally corralled the puck and put it towards McGovern, which was tipped home by Mark Rassell for his 18th of the season.
The officials then gathered to review the play, but it was determined Rassell did not knock the puck down with a high stick and it was a 2-0 Tigers lead with 6:08 left in the period.
With just over three minutes left in the frame, Rassell was hauled down while on a partial breakaway.
A penalty shot was awarded and the Tigers captain went to work, sniping it over the glove of McGovern for his second of the game and a 3-0 lead.
It was almost a perfect period for Medicine Hat, but Kootenay took advantage of some sloppy play in front of Jordan Hollett.
Sebastian Streu picked up the loose puck and sniped on Hollett, getting the ICE on the board before the buzzer.
As for the second period, it was a fairly quiet 20 minutes of play with neither team coming too close to scoring a goal.
Both Hollett and McGovern stood tall in the middle frame, with the Tigers taking the same 3-1 lead into the third.
No scoring until the 13:01 mark of the third period, when Rassell completed the hat-trick on the Kootenay doorstep with a rebound goal to grow Medicine Hat’s lead to 4-1.
That would wind up being the final score, with the Tigers rolling to their fifth straight victory.
It’s been pure dominance for Medicine Hat over Kootenay the last few years, as the Tigers haven’t suffered a loss against the ICE since March of 2016.
Hollett was exceptional for the Tigers, picking up his seventh victory of the season with a 30 save performance.
Moving their record to 13-6 on the season, the Tigers have opened up a seven point lead on the Red Deer Rebels for first place in the Central Division.
The Tigers wrap up their three-game home stand on Friday night, when the welcome one of the CHL’s top teams in the Swift Current Broncos to the Canalta Centre.
Opening face-off between the Tigers and Broncos is planned for 7:30 pm on Friday.
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