The Winnipeg ICE are onto the next round after sweeping the Medicine Hat Tigers. The ICE went into Medicine Hat and manhandled the Tigers in Game Three, winning 7-2, while eeking out a win in Game Four 3-2. The Tigers did exactly what everyone thought they would do, go out fighting. Yes, they got stomped in Game Three, but Game Four was the Tiger’s best game. Medicine Hat can hold their heads high as they took on a giant and put up a good fight. Sometimes the giant wins anyway, though.

Game 3: ICE 7 – Tigers 2

It is rare that the game-winning goal is scored in the first six minutes. That is what happened, though, as the ICE were up 3-0 after 6 minutes. The ICE players that were quick to the feeding frenzy were Zack Ostapchuk, Evan Friesen, and Matthew Savoie. The lone Tiger to score in the first was Brendan Lee. The Tigers never recovered after the first. The ICE went on to score four goals in the next two frames. The shots would end up being very close, as the Tigers outshot the ICE 25-24. The faceoff circle was just as close, with the ICE having the advantage, winning 52% of the faceoffs to the Tigers’ 47%. If you looked at every stat but the score, you would think that it would be a close game. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the score is the only stat that matters.

Game 4: ICE 3 – Tigers 2

It all came to this for the Tigers. It was do or die, and no place better for a game like that than at home. Winnipeg wanted to start off just like last game and scored 1:14 in. The Tigers showed how badly they wanted this as they scores just 16 seconds later to tie it up. So within a minute and thirty seconds, the game is tied 1-1. Of note, Zack Ostapchuk was ejected from the game 55 seconds in for cross-checking.

Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg ICE (Photo Credit: Zach Peters/ Winnipeg ICE)

This game was close from the beginning and stay close the whole game. By the end of the second, the game was tied at 2, with Owen Pederson and Hunter St. Martin scoring for the teams. Then only 1:10 into the third period, Ty Nash scored to take the lead in the game. That would hold up as the game-winner as the Winnipeg ICE would send the Tigers packing. Medicine Hat would not go out without a fight as they outshot the ICE 32-21 and 26-12 in the final two frames. The Tigers would also, for the first time in the series, win the faceoff battle at 54%.

Medicine Hat Tigers

The Tigers came into the series as the serious underdogs as they were taking on arguably the best team in Canada. Medicine Hat not only put up a fight against the ICE but gave the ICE a couple of scares throughout the series. The final game was by far the closest game in the series, but there were several times the Tigers were within striking distance of taking a game. The Tigers will be back next year, hungry to grow and go further into the playoffs.

Winnipeg Heading To The Next Round

With WHL playoffs still ongoing, and only a few series are done already. The most likely opponent for the ICE in the next round would be the fourth-place Moose Jaw Warriors as they swept through the fifth-place Lethbridge Hurricanes. They would be a tough opponent for the ICE as they went 3-3-0-0 during the season. The second most likely opponent would be the Regina Pats. They are currently in a series with the Saskatoon Blades and were the sixth-place team going into the playoffs. Any team that has Connor Bedard on it is a scary team. Not only do they have Bedard, but they are a scrappy team that does not like to go down easy.

The Winnipeg ICE will have played their easiest series, all due respect to the Medicine Hat Tigers. Any team they play next will be a tough out. The ICE will be rested and ready to go once the other series finish up. Winnipeg will be able to go back home and wait for the next opponent while getting some rare playoff practice time. The WHL playoffs have been amazing so far, and it will be entertaining to see who the ICE play next.