Story courtesy of Ryan McCracken, Medicine Hat News
The South East Athletic Club Tigers left it all on the ice this past Thursday at the Hockey Hounds Recreation Centre.
The local bantam AAA squad threw 36 shots on net while holding the high-powered Airdrie Xtreme to 32, but ultimately settled for a 6-0 loss to bring an end to Medicine Hat’s first trip to the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League post-season since 2013.
“It’s been a tough road but we went out there and gave one of the best teams in the league a run for their money,” said Tigers captain Mason Mowat, adding it meant a lot to bring playoff hockey back to Medicine Hat. “There are peewee and atom kids out there watching us and we’re trying to show them what it takes to compete at this level. It’s not easy and it’s been four or five years since this team has been to the playoffs, so hopefully the other kids coming up can learn from this and it’ll be a better program.”
The Tigers managed to hold Airdrie in a one-goal contest through 20 minutes following Brinson Jaron’s opening marker, but the Xtreme rallied for two more in the second before running away with the game in the third. Ty Mueller led the charge with two goals and an assist.
“We were playing a very tough team and we knew that coming in,” said Tigers head coach Jason Bartram. “This team has to work hard. We’re not blessed with four or five 30-point guys, we just have to work hard for everything. Whether it was 2-0, 3-0, I thought for us to come out here and outshoot one of the best teams in Western Canada — I thought we were the better team … It’s very rewarding as a coach when that’s how your guys finish for you.”
Halyk Freddie stopped all 36 shots he saw to lock up the shutout victory and push the Xtreme to the second round with a two-game series sweep. Tigers starter Marek Andres left the game after allowing five goals on 22 shots and backup Brendan Olson stopped nine in relief.