Game 1 2-1 Tigers
Game 2 1-0 Tigers OT
Game 3 2-1 Rebels
Game 4 5-3 Tigers
Game 5 4-3 Tigers
First Two Games
For the first 3 games the series was a defensive slugfest. The ref's put their whistle's away and there wasn't much room out there to move. The rebels were hitting everything, both teams were taking care of defense first and is slowed the offensive chances to a crawl. The Tigers found out early that they would be forced to dump the puck on many occasions.
The Tigers themselves were committing to Defense, and received great goal-tending from Marek Langhamer. Despite not scoring many goals they were patient and didn't get frustrated staying away from the after the whistle rough stuff, and didn't shoot themselves in the foot.
The first two games could have gone either way. The Tigers were fortunate to come out with both games. They capitalized on a couple chances and it was enough, as the Rebels had a real tough time scoring goals. I though Conner Bleakley was a force in game 1. I thought after that the rebels captain wasn't as strong. I suspect he wasn't fully recovered from an injury, as he missed a lot of time late in the season, and Cole Sanford laid him out with a strong hit at the end of game 1.
In Red Deer For Games 3 & 4
The rebels were absolutely fired up in game 3, and in game 3 they hit their peak. They played great as a team and at this point it did look a bit scary that this series would go 7 games. They outplayed the Tigers, and squeaked by them with a 2-1 score. I'd say the puck possession was probably 65-35 for them, and after this game it almost looked like they found the formula to stopping the Tigers.
Game 4 Series Turning Point
I'm pointing to game 4 for the series turning point because it was in game 4 where the Tigers were able to adapt to the Rebels intense forecheck and come out with speed. In the second period it was all Tigers as they hounded chance after chance and potted 2 goals in the second period.
They did a lot better job at supporting each other away from the puck. I think they adapted to the rebels strong physical play, and were more prepared to take a hit to make the play. They did a better job at owning their own space and had some pushback winning more one on one battles, which the rebels had previously held a bigger edge.
Was similar to Game 4 in terms of game flow, however the Tigers didn't help themselves getting into penalty troubles. They were a lot more aggressive and took 7 penalties. The game was more free-flowing and I think because of that the refs called a few more penalties. Despite the tie game into the 3rd period, it just felt like it was a matter of time before the Tigers would score again. The Tigers had more chances, and it felt like the rebels were just hanging on.
Then with 1:46 left in the game Trevor Cos sniped the game winner top corner glove side.
I thought the Rebels goaltender had a real tough night in the net. He was fighting the puck as evident by some of the rebounds and close calls that were happening. Their were a couple goals scored he might have liked to have back.
Tigers Win 4 Game to 1.
They await the winner of the Calgary Vs Kootenay series. Kootenay won their last 2 games and are taking the Hitmen to Game 7 Monday night.
If Calgary wins the Tigers start on the Road. If Kootenay wins the Tigers will start at home!
Interesting Factoid: Since Willie Took the Helm in the 2002/2003 season the Tigers they have only failed to make it to round 2 just once in the last 13 years.