EVERETT — The Medicine Hat Tigers taught the Everett Silvertips a lesson Friday night: Speed kills.
The Trevor Cox-led Tigers used their wheels to speed past the Tips 5-2 at Xfinity Arena.
Cox finished with three goals and an assist as Medicine Hat gave Everett trouble with the quickness of its players, as well as the quickness of its style of play.
“They’re a small team, but their first line is pure speed,” said Everett center Remi Laurencelle, who scored both of Everett’s goals. “They many not hit, but they come at you hard, and I think we just weren’t ready for it.”
Cole Sanford and Chad Labelle also scored for Medicine Hat (20-6-1-1), which was beginning a three-in-three weekend against the U.S. Division’s west-coast teams. Marek Langhamer played a strong game in goal for the Tigers, making 29 saves.
Austin Lotz took the loss for Everett (17-6-3-1), finishing with 11 saves.
Everett finished with a 31-16 shot advantage and also drew iron on multiple occasions in the game between division leaders. However, the ice didn’t feel as slanted as the shot numbers suggest as the Tigers had plenty of the puck, particularly when the line of Cox, Sanford and Steve Owre was on the ice as they caused Everett’s defense fits. That line was largely responsible for Medicine Hat building a 3-0 lead that held up the rest of the way.
Nevertheless, the Tips nearly got back into it. Trailing 3-0 late in the second period, one great shift on the power play seemed to turn the game Everett’s way. The Tips created all kinds of chances, with Laurencelle eventually diving to put in a rebound of a Nikita Scherbak shot at 14:31 to get the Tips on the board.
Medicine Hat’s Ty Stanton was given an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for a shove on Laurencelle after the goal, putting Everett right back on the power play, and the Tips converted again 1:21 later, Cole MacDonald’s wrister from the point glancing off traffic in front and into the corner to make it a one-goal game. The goal was awarded to Laurencelle.
The crowd was abuzz. But on the ensuing shift the Tips failed to clear their zone when they had chances, and the Tigers made them pay, Cox one-timing a shot from the top of the left circle into the top corner to make it 4-2 at 17:05.
“That was a crucial moment,” Laurencelle said. “We were coming back, we had the momentum on our side. It’s just how it turned out and it’s unfortunate.
“I think our power play was doing well tonight,” Laurencelle added. “Unfortunately we got some unlucky bounces out there, the puck going on top of the net and going right back out front. We got a lot of shots and played hard, but it just didn’t go our way.”
The Tips tried to get back into it in the third, with Everett coach Kevin Constantine electing to pull Lotz for an extra attacker with 5:33 remaining. But despite some pressure, the Tips couldn’t beat Langhamer, and Cox scored from the neutral zone with 33.7 seconds remaining to complete his hat trick and clinch the victory for Medicine Hat.
Everett struggled to deal with the speed with which the Tigers played in the first period, and it manifested itself on special teams as Medicine Hat took a 2-0 lead.
The first goal came at 5:00 while Everett was on the power play. A giveaway by Carson Stadnyk presented Cox with a clear breakaway, Cox mishandled the puck at the last moment, but he regained control in time to drop a pass for Sanford to put away and make 1-0.
Then the Tigers struck on the power play at 9:48, with Cox and Sanford swapping places. This time it was Sanford who was the provider, centering a pass that Cox redirected past Lotz to make it 2-0.
The Tips looked in deep trouble when the Tigers made it 3-0 on a fortunate bounce 3:22 into the third. Tyler Lewington took a slap shot from the neutral zone that flew over the goal. However, the puck bounced off the glass and back out front, where Labelle put it away.
Everett gave a debut to new winger Jake Mykitiuk. The 19-year-old, who had been playing for the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, was added to the roster Thursday and has yet to participate in a full practice with the team. … The Tips continued to be without wingers Dawson Leedahl (knee) and Logan Aasman (upper body) and defenseman Tristen Pfeifer (upper body) because of injury. … Medicine Hat was without centers Markus Eisenschmid and Mason Shaw because of lower-body injuries.
Tigers 5, Silvertips 2
First Period—1, Medicine Hat, Sanford 18 (Cox), 5:00 (sh). 2, Medicine Hat, Cox 6 (Becker, Vannelli), 9:48 (pp). Penalties—Lewington, Medicine Hat (high sticking), 3:52; Wharrie, Everett (charging), 8:54; Lewington, Medicine Hat (roughing), 13:30; Low, Everett (roughing), 13:30.
Second Period—3, Medicine Hat, Labelle 2 (Lewington), 3:22. 4, Everett, Laurencelle 5 (Scherbak, Davis), 14:31 (pp). 5, Everett, Laurencelle 6 (MacDonald, Scherbak), 15:52 (pp). 6, Medicine Hat, Cox 7 (Vannelli), 17:05. Penalties—Betker, Everett (tripping), 1:00; Schultz, Medicine Hat (hooking), 6:10; Medicine Hat bench (too many men, served by Schultz), 12:36; Stanton, Medicine Hat (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:31.
Third Period—7, Medicine Hat, Cox 8 (Lewington), 19:26 (en). Penalties—Laurencelle, Everett (roughing), 10:10.
Shots on goal—Medicine Hat 6-5-5—16. Everett 10-12-9—31. Power-play opportunities—Medicine Hat 1 of 3. Everett 2 of 5.
Goalies—Medicine Hat, Langhamer 15-4-1-1 (31 shots, 29 saves). Everett, Lotz 13-5-1-1 (15 shots, 11 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.