For Tomas Kundratek and his Medicine Hat Tigers, they were playing in an elimination game against the Calgary Hitmen in Calgary. Trailing 3 games to 1, the Tigers needed a big game out of their entire team and thankfully they got it.
Kundratek had a secondary assist along being a +1 as the Tigers won 5-4 to send the series back to Medicine Hat for a game 6 on Sunday. The Tigers did not make it easy for themselves as they came out of the 1st period trailing 3-1 but rallied with 4 unanswered goals in the 2nd and 3rd period.
For Kundratek it was his 5th point of the playoffs and he improved to a +5 during this playoff season.
Meanwhile in Brandon, Sam Klassen and his Saskatoon Blades were looking to dig themselves out of a 2-0 series hole with the Brandon Wheat Kings after losing the first 2 games on their home ice. Having won game 3, the Blades were looking to tie up the series and turn it into a best of 3.
The Blades did that but like the Tigers had to do it the hard way coming back in the 3rd period to earn a 4-3 win. Klassen did his job on defense going a +2 while holding the Wheat King's top scorers to just one very late goal (19:29 of the 3rd with the extra attacker).
This has been a very strange playoff season as nobody seems to want to win their own home games. For us this is the 3rd series where the home team lost most of their home games and won on the road.
Well the Blades will not have long to wait to go for their 3rd road win in this series as Game 5 is on Saturday night.
While you are waiting for the Ranger's own elimination game on Sunday afternoon; make sure you check out the NCAA Championship final featuring Wisconsin with Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh taking on Chris Kreider and Boston College. The game is on ESPN starting at 7 PM EDT and we are sorry but you will have to listen to Barry Melrose and Gary Thorne get everything wrong.
But this game should be worth it as to be honest we just do not know who to favor in this one. If you had asked us prior to Boston College's win over Miami then we would have said Wisconsin but things have changed.
We had watched all 3 teams in a lot of games this season and to be honest, we thought Miami because of their team speed and overall defense was going to finally win the Championship. What Boston College did against them was lay a beating on Miami like nobody else had done this season and no we do not think this was a off-night by Miami.
This was a very good Boston College team that beat them and now we wonder if Wisconsin should be the underdog here. Wisconsin like Miami has been at the top of the college hockey polls all year long while Boston College has been coming on strong in the 2nd half.
This one is going to be tough but we think Wisconsin will win in part because of their better defensive corps. One other thing; while we are 100% sure that Ryan McDonagh should turn pro no matter what the outcome of the game is.
As for Derek Stepan, we would advise against it but if Wisconsin does win then there will nothing for Stepan to return to at Wisconsin. A gold medal and a championship would leave little incentive for Stepan to return back to Wisconsin.
Stepan still needs work on his overall game (especially his face-off skills) but in every key area; he is very close to being ready for Hartford. McDonagh we believe needs a short learning period in Hartford but he will be ready within half a season if not sooner.
(Kundratek courtesy of the Medicine Hat Tigers)