It’s now a one-and-done series.
The Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Kootenay Ice 2-1 on Monday night to force Game Seven which will send the series back to Alberta.
Curtis Valk scored the game-winner with 37 seconds left in the third period, retaking the lead after the Tigers were up over the Ice for 50 minutes of the affair.
Jon Martin was the lone goal-scorer for the Ice, notching the equalizer with five minutes left in the game.
The third period was the best effort from the Ice all game, despite Valk notching the go-ahead goal at the end.
“I thought we played with a lot of desperation in the third period,” said Ice head coach Ryan McGill. “I thought we did a lot of good things in the third period, and unfortunately we got a bad bounce at the end.”
Marek Langhamer picked up the win for the Tigers with 26 saves, while Mackenzie Skapski turned away 28 shots in defeat.
The Ice powerplay was scoreless in four chances with the man-advantage, a stark contrast to it’s scorching success against the Calgary Hitmen in the first round.
“I thought we just overhandled the puck a little bit,” said McGill. “I thought we shot the puck early, then in the second period I thought we overhandled a little bit and in the third period, I thought we had some real good chances with Sam coming down the side, but their goalie made some really good saves.”
After a collision in Tigers territory resulted in an interference penalty on Jaedon Descheneau, Medicine Hat opened the scoring in the first period a few seconds after the powerplay concluded at 8:10, with Miles Koules banging in a feed from behind the goal line.
The Tigers held onto the lead until late into the final frame.
That didn’t mean scoring chances didn’t come for either side.
Medicine Hat had a big four-minute powerplay after Zach McPhee sat for high-sticking, but the Kootenay powerplay came up with a big kill, with Levi Cable getting some good chances to score shorthanded.
In the second period, Franko got the hook on a Tigers jersey and had to make a trip to the sin bin, but the play pretty much saved a goal on an open Kootenay net.
The Ice also had a pair of powerplays, but had trouble opening up lanes and getting shots on goal.
Kootenay came out of the third with their best effort of the night, if not the series, according to team captain Sam Reinhart.
“We feel we played the best period of the series in the third and it’s a seven-game series, so we’ll bring that mentality to the next one,” said Reinhart. “Many teams have taken seven games to win a series.”
The two teams held each other without a shot on goal for six minutes into the frame before Kootenay started getting chances on Langhamer.
They finally got the equalizer from Martin, who snapped home a loose puck in front of the crease that had ricochet off the side of the net from the corner.
Medicine Hat coach Shaun Clouston immediately called a timeout to calm down his team, and it looked like the affair was headed for overtime, but Valk found the puck after Dylan Bredo lost the handle during a rush into Kootenay territory and he beat Skapski with 37 seconds left on the clock.
The Ice head back into Medicine Hat for Wednesday night with the series on the line—a building where they’ve only won once in six outings.