The Hitmen kicked so many pucks into the net last night, they probably should have been wearing cleats. But it was a puck redirected into their own net that sealed Calgary's fate as the Medicine Hat Tigers skated away with a
5-3 victory yesterday afternoon at the 'Dome.
With the Tigers holding a 3-2 lead and eight minutes on the clock, Tommy Maxwell skated into the corner, past the goal-line and sent a puck out front that hit the skate of Hitmen starter Scott Bowles and rolled in for the eventual game-winner.
"It's frustrating," said head coach Kelly Kisio, whose club benefited from a booted puck at the other end earlier in the contest.
"It was a weird shot that skipped just before it got to him.
"But those goals will happen and you have to be mentally prepared to battle back and I thought we did. We had our chances in the last minute."
Brodie Dupont wired a one-time feed from Konstantin Pushkarev off the post and in on the powerplay to give the Hitmen a fighting chance. But Kieran Block scored an empty netter with three seconds to go to give the Bengals their second win over Calgary in less than 24 hours.
Brett O'Malley opened the scoring 4:45 into the first when he broke in off the right side and forced the puck through Kevin Nastiuk's pads.
The Hat evened the score later in the frame on the powerplay when Brett Robertson came off the bench, took a pass inside the Calgary blueline and found a wide-open Roman Psurny at the far side of the net.
Bowles had no chance as the Czech sniper jammed in his 12th of the campaign.
Bowles couldn't be faulted on the Tigers' second goal, either, as Robertson tipped Steve Marr's point shot into the top corner halfway through the middle stanza.
Steve Covington brought the Hitmen even nine seconds into a 5-on-3 advantage.
Derek Werenka's pass caromed into the crease where Covington swiped at it and then kicked the puck under Nastiuk. But the transgression escaped the eyes of the officiating crew and the goal stood.
Ex-Hitmen centre Paul Gentile re-established the Tigers' lead before the period was out. Cody Blanshan's point shot was blocked in front and with two Hitmen defenders tied up, the overager jumped on the loose puck and went top shelf for his seventh of the season.
The Calgary product didn't deny scoring against his old team tasted just a little bit sweeter.
"It felt good to score in front of family and friends," said Gentile, who received a rousing ovation when called out as the game's third star.
"It's always nice to play at home.
"We've been playing real well in the last little bit here. We just have to keep it going."
The Tigers are riding a five-game winning streak, while the Hitmen lost their second straight after dropping a 3-2 overtime decision in the Gas City Saturday night.
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MEDICINE HAT TIGERS: 5
CALGARY HITMEN: 3