Medicine Hat ready to get back on the horse again

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Medicine Hat Tigers have been in this situation before.

This is not their first rodeo.

Three years ago at the Memorial Cup in Kelowna the Tigers lost their opening game of the tournament yet still made it to the semifinal. So despite losing their first game at this year's tournament 3-1 to the Lewiston Maineiacs on Saturday, the Western Hockey League champions feel they're still in the running.

"We can't get too down on ourselves because we lost the first game," said Tigers forward Darren Helm. "We have to stay positive. We've talked about how we've bounced back before so we know we can do it."

Today (6 p.m., MST) the Tigers take on the Plymouth Whalers. Plymouth also goes in as first-time losers having dropped an overtime decision to the host Vancouver Giants in the opener.

One bad period did the Tigers in against the Maineiacs.

Another one against the Whalers could have them facing elimination going into their third round-robin game. And as fate would have it, that game would be against the Giants, the team the Tigers beat to claim the Western Hockey league championship.

Talk about a shot at payback.

"The way we're looking at it right now, is that if we win our next two games we still have a shot of having the bye to the final," said Tigers defenceman and Edmonton native David Schlemko. "We just have to stay positive and look ahead, and not behind us."

The Whalers - the OHL champions - put up a good fight against the Giants in the opener.

On three occasions they battled back from a deficit. They also scored three power-play goals.

"Plymouth seems like a real similar team to Vancouver," Schlemko said.

"They're a big, strong team. They have some big forwards that come real hard on the forecheck and they have some guys that can make you pay."


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