The Medicine Hat Tigers got a pair of goals from Zach Fischer and three assists from Brad Forrest as they took down the Edmonton Oil Kings by a 5-2 score Sunday afternoon at Rogers Place.
The Tigers, who are second in the Eastern Conference with 59 points, had 45 shots on Edmonton goaltender Patrick Dea and controlled much of the pace of play this afternoon, but Oil Kings Head Coach Steve Hamilton saw some bright spots.
“There was some change of momentum in that game,” he said. “They got a good strong push in the start of the second period. That gave them some breathing room and then I liked our response in the back half of the second. We did a decent job against a really good powerplay. Some steps to build on and that is going to be part of our process…is identifying areas that we can continue to get better at. The ceiling for our team is a long ways away.”
The Oil Kings goals came from their shining rookie, Trey Fix-Wolansky, who notched his 11th on the year, and Adam Berg, who has two goals and two assists in the three games since his return from injury.
The Edmonton native wristed one through the wickets of Tigers netminder Nick Schneider while on the powerplay. Brett Kemp, playing in his second game since being acquired from Everett last week, had an assist – his first as an Oil King.
Medicine Hat opened the scoring in the first when John Dahlstrom took a nice pass from Mason Shaw right in front of Dea, knocking it in for his 19th.
Fischer made it 2-0 when he eluded an Oil King defenceman and walked in tight to the net with seemingly nowhere to put it…but he found the one tiny open space under the bar and tucked it up there.
Fix-Wolansky drew the home team to within one less than a minute later exciting the crowd of 7,885. The goal puts him in 6th place for rookie scoring this season with 29 points.
From there it Medicine Hat started to take over. Matt Bradley and Fischer each scored in the second; Bradley’s was a nice shorthanded marker when the veteran winger took advantage of a turnover at Edmonton’s blue line and raced in to score his 18th of the season.
Schneider had to be quite sharp as well, particularly in the second period, when Edmonton would not back down from the Tigers attack. He made 13 saves in the middle frame including robbing Colton Kehler, who split the defence and dangled in before Schneider stoned him.
Berg scored his 4th this season early into the third beating Schneider in close. Wyatt McLeod and Conner McDonald, with his first point as an Oil King, had the helpers.
James Hamblin put the nail in the coffin a few minutes later as he was the recipient of a loose puck sitting all alone by the goal line after Mark Rassell’s rebound lay unattended.
Hamilton continued to play many of his rookies and new players in all key situation; something he says is important to their growth and development.
“We are going to make a concerted effort to give guys opportunity to grow their game. Whether it is powerplay, five-on-five or penalty kill, we want to make sure we are identifying guys that can step into those roles. You are going to live with some great moments; you are going to live with some mistakes.”
Up next for the Oil Kings (18-20-3-1) is another tough challenge as they play the Lethbridge Hurricanes (22-15-3-2) yet again. Game is Wednesday at 7:00 PM at Rogers Place.