The Winnipeg ICE had a great weekend as they took a demanding 2-0 series lead over the Medicine Hat Tigers. They won their first game 5-3, with Matthew Savoie leading the way with a hat trick. In the second game, Connor McClennon decided he wanted the spotlight with two goals while Savoie racked up another three points.
Game 1: ICE 5 – Tigers 3
Game one was the Savoie show. His first goal came at the 8:22 mark of the first period putting the ICE up 2-0. He then went on to score two more in the third, including the game-winning goal and an empty net. Zack Ostapchuk had the second biggest impact on the game with one goal. He was a beast in the faceoff dot, winning 19 out of 22 faceoffs in the game. As a team, they won 42 out of 65 faceoffs in the game and had 24 penalty minutes. Daniel Hauser stopped 33 of 36 for the win as he kept up his strong play into the playoffs. The Medicine Hat Tigers gave the ICE a competitive game and would look to build off their strong showing, despite the outcome.
Game 2: ICE 5 – Tigers 2
The Winnipeg ICE were looking to take the 2-0 lead in the series, and that is exactly what they did. McClennon had two goals for the ICE in the second and third, with Savoie assisting on both goals. Conor Geekie won 12 out of 14 faceoffs in the game as the ICE. As a team, they won 38 out of 60 faceoffs in the game. The big story of this game was Hauser stopping 25 of 27 shots he faced as the ICE were outshot 27 to 22 in the game. The Tigers had a push in this game as they wanted to split the games in Winnipeg before heading home. The Tigers were within one goal in the third before McClennon scored his second of the game to give the ICE their commanding 2-0 series lead.
Series Heads to Medicine Hat
With the series headed to Medicine Hat for the next two games, the ICE will need to continue their winning ways on the road. Over the regular season, the ICE went 27-7-0-0 on the road, with the Tigers being 17-12-4-1 at home. The Tigers will want to use their home-ice advantage in the next two games to extend the series and keep their playoff hopes alive. The ICE are 1-1-0-0 against the Tigers at CO-OP Place with a 5-2 win on October 1st and a 6-4 loss recently on March 1.
With the ICE winning the first two games, they will be looking to complete the sweep in Medicine Hat. The Tigers will want to build off the fact they outshot the ICE in the last game and just need to get a few more of those shots to go in.
The key to the ICE winning is to continue finishing on the chances they do get. If the Tigers want a chance in this series, they need to figure out how to beat Hauser and the Winnipeg ICE defence. It should be an interesting next two games, with Game Three on Tuesday, followed by Game 4 on Thursday.