Angry Tigers bite back

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

The Tigers had a little sand kicked in their face Monday.

Last night, they flexed their muscle and proved once again they're the bullies of the WHL's Eastern Conference.

Derek Dorsett, Tyler Swystun and Tyler Ennis scored and Calgary Flames prospect Matt Keetley made 18 saves as Medicine Hat beat the Calgary Hitmen 3-1 at the 'Dome.

The Tigers lead the Eastern Conference final 3-1 and head home with a chance to close out the series tomorrow night at The Arena (7:30 p.m., Shaw TV, The Fan 960).

Hitmen d-man Karl Alzner said his club simply didn't match the Bengals' intensity.

"I think we sat back a bit because we thought we had figured them out," Alzner said. "We had won one game and (thought) it was just going to come to us.

"They're not like other teams we've played. They're going to battle whether they're up 3-0 or down, it doesn't matter to them.

"We underestimated them a little bit because of what happened the other night."

Robin Figren scored the lone goal for Calgary, which now faces the daunting task of needing to win three straight games -- two in Medicine Hat -- against the top seed in the East.

Dan Spence made 23 saves, many of the tough variety, to keep his lethargic team in the game.

The Tigers put the game out of reach 7:09 into the third period when Alex Plante and Derek LeBlanc got their wires crossed in the defensive zone.

Brennan Bosch plucked the loose puck and sent a perfect pass to the top of the crease for Ennis, who had his best game of the series.

Hitmen GM/head coach Kelly Kisio said he couldn't understand why his team came out flat.

"We didn't have a lot of jump in our game," he said. "We couldn't generate a lot and they did a real good job of shutting us down.

"It was a long night for us."

The Hitmen, thanks to some big stops by Spence and a fantastic individual effort by Figren, managed to escape a first period in which they were largely outplayed.

Dorsett extended his points streak to seven games on a powerplay 11 minutes in, beating Spence through a Chris Stevens screen.

Flames prospect Gord Baldwin nearly put the visitors up by two but his point shot clanked off the post and Spence kicked out the right pad to make a terrific stop on Tyler Ennis' rebound attempt.

Spence continued to hold the fort with a big glove stop on Swystun after the Hitmen made a series of poor decisions with the puck in their own end of the ice.

Figren put the home side on even footing on the powerplay with his second highlight-reel goal in as many games.

The speedy Swede blew around a Tigers defender, picked up a dump-in and cut for the net before throwing a short-side backhander over Keetley's shoulder.

The Hitmen managed just a dozen shots over the opening 40 minutes while Spence faced 17 by the surging Tigers.


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