EDMONTON, AB - Mads Søgaard’s WHL playoff debut was one for the ages on Saturday night, turning in one of his best performances in a Tigers sweater.
Dialed in all night, Søgaard allowed just one puck to get past him on 50 shots against to guide Medicine Hat to a 2-1 victory in Game 1 of their first round series against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Following a scoreless opening period that saw Medicine Hat outshot 13-9 by Edmonton, the Tigers were able to break the deadlock early in the second frame.
Picking up a loose puck shorthanded, James Hamblin and Tyler Preziuso executed a perfect give-and-go play which was finished off by the Tigers captain to make it a 1-0 game just over four minutes into the second.
Medicine Hat doubled its lead to 2-0 nine minutes later off a turnover at centre ice, with Hayden Ostir toe-dragging the puck in the slot before firing home his first of the playoffs.
The Oil Kings pressured Søgaard throughout the entire second period with 23 shots on the Dane, but the Tigers rookie turned everything aside to give his team a two-goal lead at the break.
With the goalie pulled and desperate for a goal, the Oil Kings finally beat Søgaard with 2:02 left in the game, as former Tiger Josh Williams tracked down a rebound and beat the screened Medicine Hat netminder.
Even after a timeout and a few more chances with Dylan Myskiw on the bench, Søgaard was able to halt the Oil Kings attack and let the clock wind down for the 2-1 victory.
Saturday’s 49-save performance ties Søgaard’s record for most saves in a game this season, a mark he reached back on December 14 in a 4-1 win over Red Deer.
As for Myskiw, he picked up the loss with two goals allowed on 27 shots against in the Edmonton crease.
Leading the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final series 1-0, the Tigers will try to double their lead on Sunday night for Game 2 at Rogers Place in Edmonton at 6:00 pm.
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