Tip of the Hat to Tyler

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:31 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Tyler Ennis is proof good players are often passed over in the Western Hockey League bantam draft.

Last night Ennis scored a pair of goals and added two assists as the Medicine Hat Tigers defeated the Plymouth Whalers 4-1 in the second game of the Memorial Cup for both teams.

The Edmonton native is in his second year with the Tigers.

He was overlooked in the draft and signed following an impressive evaluation camp.

"He's a real good, young player and he's got lots of skill," said Tigers head coach Willie Desjardins.

"When he puts the puck on net, the goalie always has to make a good save. He's pretty crafty around the net. We needed him to have a good game for us and he did."

Ennis, 17, started things off early for the Tigers, firing a shot that Whalers' goaltender Michal Neuvirth tried to sweep away, but put right on the stick of Brennan Bosch.

Minutes later, Ennis went in on another rush and this time found a spot between Neuvirth's pads.

That was all for the Whalers starter, who got the hook after giving up two goals on five shots.

In the second, Ennis found the puck in front of the net on the power-play and snapped it past Whalers backup goaltender Jeremy Smith.

In the third, Ennis drew a hooking penalty then helped set up Daine Todd on the power play for the Tigers' fourth goal. With his four-point night, Ennis took over the Memorial Cup scoring lead.

"It was one of those nights where things were going for us," Ennis said. "We got a few power-play goals and we seem to create a lot of chances. It was an exciting night."

Ennis' line, which includes Bosch and Todd, combined for nine points. Bosch had a goal and two assists, while Todd had a goal and an assists.

The trio had been shutout in the first game of the tournament.

"Tyler is a good player - he's got a ton of skill," Todd said. "We saw that tonight and it's great having him on our line."

This season Ennis had 26 goals and 24 assists in 71 games for the Tigers. He added eight goals and four assists in the playoffs. As a rookie he had three goals and seven assists in 43 games.

"I knew when he was with us last year as a 16-year-old he was a special player," Desjardins said. "We tried to bring him along slowly last year and not put him into tough situations. This year we tried to go slow with him again, but we needed him and as a result he had to step up and be a real good player for us."

With his birthday in October, Ennis is not eligible for this June's NHL draft. Instead he'll be eligible next year giving him another season to improve. He also needs to grow, listed at five-foot-nine, 155-pounds.

"I think it's a good thing for me, being a smaller guy it gives me that chance to grow, put on some weight and get stronger," he said. "It's also good that it gives me an extra year to get some more confidence and experience."

Ennis has made a big impression since getting signed by the Tigers. He was a member of Canada's gold-medal winning entry at the World Under-18 hockey championships. Now he's front and centre in the country's biggest junior tournament.

"Coming into the year I knew we had a really good year and I'm fortunate enough to play on a really good line. I think the success came with playing with good linemates," Ennis said. "It's been awesome. It's been a great experience. I chose to play down in Medicine Hat because it's such a great community and a great coaching staff.

It's worked out awesome so far. Playing in the Memorial Cup is pretty exciting and I'm looking forward to trying to win the cup."


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