Moose Jaw Defeats Tigers 4-3 OT
Alex Theriau was out with a hip injury. Kyle Becker dressed in his place and looked really good in doing so.
It was the Tigers best game of the series, unfortunately it wasn't enough. The tigers were able to get a few more pucks out of their end however, Moose Jaw still fired 47 shots on net. Moose Jaw came out a little flat in the first period despite getting the first goal of the game 1:43 in.
The Tigers made Moose Jaw pay taking penalties as they scored 3 powerplay goals in the first period to take a 3-1 Lead (Bettauer x2, Boston Leier were the goal scorers).
Like the previous game the warriors took the momentum over in the second period with a powerplay goal of their own. The Warriors then tied the game up with about 4 minutes left in the third period as Sam Fioretti managed to handcuff Bunz on a wrist shot just inside the blueline.
The Tigers had quite a few scoring chances in the third period and overtime. Another post hit and a dozen or so chances that squeaked inches wide of the net. They had 2 incredible chances to win the game in overtime, but it just wasn't meant to be as 15 year old standout Brayden Point snapped a rebound over-top a fallen Tyler Bunz to win them the game.
Congrats to Moose Jaw, they are going to give Edmonton a real good run for their money in the conference final. I don't think I've ever seen a 15 year old callup play first line minutes in the playoffs. The warriors have an absolute gem in their hands.
It was a fun treat to Watch Emerson Etem, Tyler Bunz, Cole Grbavac, and Matt Konan play the last couple seasons, and a pleasant surprise to see newcomer James Bettauer lead the league in Defensive scoring. ALL 5 players will be missed next season.
We weren't exactly sure what type of season the Tigers were going to have this year, and the coach Darren Kruger said the same thing on the radio after the game ended.
I think making it to the second round should be considered a successful season. Its too bad that injuries down the stretch made life a little difficult, but it could also be a blessing in disguise as the Tigers found out that Chad Labelle, and Kyle Becker look more than whl ready, As well as the Emergence of Rhyse Dieno before he got injured.
Initial thoughts for next season is that it will be an experience building year. The Tigers will be younger and could still have a good shot at making the playoffs. They have a lot of young talent that when it matures in 2 years they could be making deep playoff runs, but if they are building for 2 years they might have some tough 19 year old decisions to make for next year, but I'll get more into that in a couple days.
Looking Back to last July (Season predictions for this year)
I'm not sure what to think. If certain combos can gel, they will be the dark horse of the league and surprise, especially with the loss of guys like Pitlick, Vey, and Hamilton. However theirs also the possibility of having the supporting players/ depth not up to par if the 18 year olds don't step up their game.
They have a combo of smart, physical, fast and skilled forwards, They should maintain an average offense at worst. The Question will be on how the secondary offense and defense gels together.
It seems like they have the ingredients of where their not expected to be a power house yet could surprise if things mix together well. Yet they could also cook up a rotten batch of cookies. A safe bet would put them in the middle of the pack 5th-6th. However I wont be surprised to see them fall or rise in either direction.
It was a little general, but the Tigers finished 4th and made it to round two. I think they did slightly better than expectations considering the losses of the previous season.
Sometime over the next couple days I'll do an outlook for next season, and then my annual NHL Arm Chair GM scouting report I do for kicks soon after. As well as a look at how former Tigers of the previous years have been doing.
I just missed it but I thought I heard Kruger on the radio say that Kessy was coming back next season. Anyone else catch or confirm that?