MEDICINE HAT, AB — Brett Kemp picked a good time to join the Medicine Hat Tigers season-long scoring tear over the Red Deer Rebels.
The Yorkton, SK product scored his first career hat-trick in a playoff-clinching 7-4 victory for the Tigers over the Rebels on Wednesday night.
Coinciding with the Brandon Wheat Kings 6-2 loss to Moose Jaw, the Tigers have mathematically secured one of two wild card spots in the WHL's Eastern Conference and will play post-season hockey.
Medicine Hat wraps up its season series with a perfect 6-0 record against Red Deer, having scored at least four goals in each contest.
Mads Søgaard took the pipes for all six victories, and made 24 saves for his second straight victory.
Ethan Anders stopped 18 of 24 shots fired his way before Byron Fancy took over for the final 13 minutes. Fancy allowed one goal on four shots.
Kemp added a helper to set a new career high for points in one game with four. Alternate captain Ryan Chyzowski joined Kemp’s four-point performance with a pair of goals and two helpers, and captain James Hamblin notched a goal and an assist.
Jeff de Wit opened the scoring on the power-play at 7:48, jamming a loose rebound past Søgaard from the slot.
Their lead quickly evaporated as Hamblin notched his 33rd of the campaign just 16 seconds later. Søgaard picked up his first career assist on the play.
In a second period decorated with lamp-lighting, fisticuffs, and nifty play-making, Zak Smith was first to find the scoreboard 57 seconds in. The Austin, MB native tapped in a juicy rebound at the side of the net to make it 2-1.
For a second time, it didn’t take the Tigers long to come up with the answer. Alternate captain Ryan Chyzowski picked up his 25th of the season less than three minutes later.
Kemp’s two second period markers came 2:28 apart, giving Medicine Hat a 4-2 lead. Both of which came from near identical locations in the slot, first firing low glove on Anders before finding a hole in the opposite corner.
Tigers alternate captain Ryan Jevne and Rebels captain Reese Johnson were given a howling ovation after dropping the gloves near Anders crease. Jevne wrestled Johnson to the ground after both players exchanged several punches, a sure treat for the hometown faithful.
Josh Tarzwell cut the Tigers lead to 4-3 crossing the midway mark of the second, but Chyzowski found twine on the power-play moments later to regain Medicine Hat’s two-goal lead.
Both teams combined for 28 shots in the second period, with the Tigers holding a 16-12 edge.
Kemp sent hats flying for the first time in his career 7:26 into the third.
Brandon Hagel added the Rebels fourth goal of the night nearing the midway mark of the final frame.
Logan Christensen picked up the touchdown marker for the Tigers with less than seven minutes remaining.
Medicine Hat has two games to go on the regular season, first making a trip to Cranbrook for the last time to take on the Kootenay ICE before hosting the Lethbridge Hurricanes to conclude the regular season on Saturday.
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