Hat's off

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

The much-anticipated goaltending duel took a while to materialize.

Sixty-five minutes to be exact.

Neither of the WHL's top two 'keepers -- Hitmen starter Justin Pogge and Calgary Flames draft pick Matt Keetley -- were particulary sharp in regulation time, surrendering five goals apiece.

But they stole the show in the shootout.

Tigers sniper Roman Psurny, Medicine Hat's seventh shooter, finally ended it, giving the Tigers a 6-5 thrilling victory at the 'Dome.

Psurny also scored and added three assists in regulation.

The Bengals moved three points clear of Calgary atop the Central Division and WHL overall standings. Both teams have six games remaining, including next Sunday's rematch at the 'Dome.

"It was weird," Keetley said. "It was back-and-forth hockey. There weren't very many shots but quite a few goals."

Brodie Dupont forced overtime and earned the Hitmen (45-17-2-2) a point when he banged a puck past Keetley with just eight-tenths of a second remaining in regulation.

But both 'tenders were at their best in the penalty-shot phase. Calgary's Riley Merkley and the Hat's Daine Todd were the only ones to find the back of the net through the first 12 shots in front of 13,375 patrons.

Keetley, who made 15 stops to pick up his league-leading 40th win of the campaign, said he paid attention to what his counterpart was up to at the far end.

"Sometimes you can look at what (Pogge's) doing and copy it for the next shot," said the Flames fifth-rounder. "He used the pokecheck, so I thought I'd try one."

Calgary's Mike Reich scored a pair of goals and nearly extended the shootout. The 17-year-old, shooting seventh for the Hitmen, rang a shot off the inside of the post. The gritty forward played his best game since an early-season deal brought him to the Hitmen from Spokane.

Blueliners Brett Carson and Craig Lineker also scored for Calgary, which dropped its second straight shootout decision after winning its first six.

Carson opened the scoring in the first period but the Tigers bounced back with goals from Psurny and Derek Dorsett. Reich tied it at two to set up a wild, six-goal final frame.

Kevin Undershute and Reich traded powerplay markers before Brennan Bosch notched the Tigers' third powerplay tally of the game. Brett Robertson scored what appeared to be nothing more than an insurance goal with 5:51 to play but the Hitmen refused to die.

Lineker floated a wrister through traffic past Keetley with 1:41 to go, setting the stage for Dupont's roof-raiser with less than a second on the clock.

HIT PARADE: The three stars were Tigers LW Roman Psurny, Hitmen C Mike Reich and Tigers LW Kevin Undershute ... Calgary visits Red Deer tomorrow before hosting Prince Albert (Wednesday, 7 p.m.) and Regina (Friday, 7 p.m.).


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