Red Deer Rebels 1 @ Medicine Hat Tigers 2
7:00 PM Medicine Hat Arena
SOG: 32- 17 Rebels
I'd give a slight advantage in terms of gameplay to the tigers. They came out storming in the first 10 minutes, then pushed the Rebels back after the Rebels starting really laying out the body. The Tigers managed to score twice early in the game after a pair of Rebel penalties.
On the Power-playLinden Vey took advantage of a rebels Defender who was caught out of position, corralled the puck down low and passed it out to a open Tyler Pitlick in the slot who fired the puck over Darcy Kuemper's shoulder blocker side.
The Tigers would go up 2-0 when Ryan Harrison would take a shot at the top of the faceoff circle. The puck slid up a Rebel Defender's stick and the puck whiffed over Kuemper's right shoulder. Another Power-play Goal.
The rebels started taking over the game as the period progressed. The Tigers still managed to get a handful of chances but the rebels started taking longer and longer shifts into the Tigers end. Fortunately the stellar play of Tigers Goaltender Devan Dubyk managed to keep the rebels at bay. The rebelswere using an extremely aggressive forecheck, and the Tigers started panicking, throwing out low percentage passes and couldn't manage to change the flow of the game.
Turner Elson got the Rebels on the board on the powerplay with a pretty tick tack toe passing play, outmannning the Tigers down low. Ryan Nugent Hopkins gathered the puck at his blueline fed it down low to Andrej Kudrna who onetime passed it over to a wide open Turner Elson who tapped it into an empty net. 2-1 Tigers
The Third period was all rebels. They controlled the play. Most of their shots appeared to be down low or off deflections and Deven Dubyk who looked like he has grown over last season, played an amazing positional game stopping numerous rebels chances. The rebels couldn't manage to score with a late powerplay, and couldn't penetrate the Tigers zone with their goalie pulled.
The rebels were the much better team tonight. The Tigers came to play for 10 minutes and change. The rebels upped their physical game in the second period and took control of the play, and the Tigers couldn't find a way to respond.
I thought Tyler Pitlick played an amazing 1st and 2nd period. He was making moves you dont think a kid as big as him can make. In the third I noticed a few plays where it looks like he doesn't completely have the Tigers defensive systems down yet. But still a much improved game over his first game as a Tiger.
Linden Vey. I thought he played a very good game, used his speed and set up a lot of opportunities.
Emerson Etem was still invisible. But starting skating when he had a couple offensive opportunities in the third period.
Vahe Zakaryan - I thought he played real well along the boards in the offensive end during the second period.
Sebastian Owuya - looked slightly overmatched. The rebels were so quick that he couldn't get a good pass off, he was rushing a lot of his passes and that's one part of the game tough to get used to switching from the European game. I thought he was conscious of not getting caught pinching, but the Tigers were missing a physical presence like someone who could get a good hit stepping up at the blueline.
Jace Coyle - It will take him a game or two to get used to junior. He kept swirling back and at the pro level many guys will back off, but the rebels gave him no room and coughed the puck up a few times.
Devan Dubyk - The reason why the Tigers won the game. He played exceptional. I think he has earned another start against the same team, who couldn't quite figure him out.
Coaching - I liked when they used their timeout in the second period. The Tigers had a tired 4th line out against the Ryan-Nugent-Hopkins line.
I disliked that after the rebels pushback in the third period, the Tigers continued to falter. No fights, no big hits no momentum changers. The Tigers started playing smaller than their size suggests.
I didn't noticed the opposite side forward trying to go high to open up neutral zone ice until the last 5 minutes of the period(not sure if it was the players failure to adjust or whatever I didn't like it. (I think today's gametape is a perfect studying opportunity)
I also disliked that lack of physicality on the ice. Two games in a row where the opposition stepped up the physical side of things and started gaining confidence. The Tigers really miss a guy like Kale Kessey.
I did like the defensive coverage at the net. The forwards and the defense did a real good job at clearing away rebounds, and not giving the rebels any easy rebounds.
The rebels were so amazingly quick that it made it really hard for any Tigers defensman to make consistent first passes out of the zone, and when they did the forward who received the pass had limited options and couldn't react fast enough.
Ryan-Nugent-Hopkins wow. He reminds me a lot like Tyler Ennis except he is a little bigger. It will be interesting to see where he goes in the nhl draft. Will a few inches of size turn a similar caliber player from a late first round pick(Ennis) to an early first round pick?
This kid can play. I only noticed once during the whole game where Tigers forward Reid Petryk managed to pin him with a hit along the boards. Hopkins is pretty slippery, and his puck control is amazing.
I really liked Byron Froese tonight. I watched time after time where he would scoop up loose puck among 2 tiger players, or control the puck along the boards and make make a good pass to a teammate.