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Hitmen Win Thriller In Overtime

Candice Ward/Photo

End of the day, they got the job done.

The Hitmen wrapped up the season series against the Tigers with a thrilling 6-5 overtime win in Medicine Hat to extend the win streak to six games.

Carson Focht continued his hot streak as he scored his third hat-trick in his last five games and added an assist for a four point night. James Malm added a pair of goals and an assist on the overtime winner which came courtesy of Vladislav Yeryomenko 3:41 into the extra session. Jack McNaughton picked up his 25th win of the season with 37 saves on the night.

Medicine Hat saw Ryan Jevne score a pair of markers with Ryan Chyzowski, Corson Hopwo and Trevor Longo adding singles. Mads Soogard started the contest but was replaced after allowing four goals on 13 shots, Jordan Hollett made 15 saves in relief.

The Hitmen got off to a perfect start, stunning the home crowd with four goals in the opening 20 minutes. Focht would strike twice in the first three minutes of the contest, first on a one-timer on the powerplay and then with a wrist shot in the slot. The Tigers responded on a two-on-one play eight minutes later but Malm and Focht would connect on back-to-back man-advantages to give the Hitmen a convincing lead after 40 minutes.

Just when all seemed to be under control, Medicine Hat came roaring back.

Four unanswered goals with two in each period saw the Tigers have the Hitmen on the ropes as they turned the tables with a 5-4 lead late in the third period. With a 29-13 advantage on the shot clock for the home side since the first stanza, the Tigers continued to press but the Hitmen pulled a rabbit of the hat to find the equalizer with three minutes left. It was only fitting that Malm was the one to find the equalizer as all game he dazzled with his stick-handling and forced the game into overtime with a backhand shot into the top corner.

The two clubs traded a pair of chances but the Hitmen dominated possession of the puck when Malm centred a pass from the side of the net in front to a pinching Yeryomenko who made no mistake in putting the game to bed.

With his four point night, Focht now has 10 goals in his last five games and 20 points (10G, 10A) in his last seven outings.

The Hitmen are now four points back of both Lethbridge and Edmonton for top spot in the Central Division, while securing an eight point lead over Medicine Hat for third in the division. They will face off against both clubs they are chasing starting Friday night at the ‘Dome against Edmonton for the One Ticket One Tree Game.

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