Tigers keep cool facing adversity at the 'Dome

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

On one hand, Willie Desjardins saw a blown chance.

On the other, the Medicine Hat Tigers bench boss saw the kind of composure coaches want from their charges when facing adversity.

Midway through last night's clash with the Calgary Hitmen, the Tigers were up a goal and on a five-on-three powerplay.

A golden chance to put the game away.

Instead, the visitors barely even mustered a shot, let alone an insurance goal. Talk about a potential turning point.

"We blew a real opportunity," Desjardins said. "We can't do that. We were lucky to get out of the game missing that opportunity. We've got to take advantage of those or we won't be successful.

"But the guys did stay with it. There was a real determination to play hard and we're thankful it turned out for us."

The Tigers left the Saddledome with a 3-1 win last night to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven WHL Eastern Conference final.

It could have turned the other way but Tigers forward Tyler Ennis, whose third-period goal eventually gave his team the insurance marker, was proud of the way he and his teammates didn't panic.

"We were talking on the bench and the coaches were telling us to stay focused, stay on task and keep doing the things we were doing," Ennis said. "We were playing pretty well up to that point and we just had to keep doing those things."

The Tigers came to the Stampede City looking for a split to give them a huge upper hand. They can close out the series tomorrow night at home.

Visiting teams haven't had much luck in these playoffs at the Saddledome -- until last night the Hitmen had lost only one of their six outings at home in the post-season.

Coming off a poor performance Monday, the Tigers had a concerted focus to pull out a win that gave them the upper hand.

"We came in wanting this game so bad," Ennis said. "We stuck to the little things, got pucks out, blocked shots and I think that's the most important thing."


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