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Lanigan makes 36 saves as Tigers eliminate Blades with 3-1 victory

Thursday, 03.28.2013 / 2:24 AM The Canadian Press

Cam Lanigan stopped 36 shots as the Medicine Hat Tigers upset the Saskatoon Blades from Western Hockey League playoff action with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old goaltender was spectacular for Medicine Hat in its four-game first-round sweep of second-seeded Saskatoon as he allowed only four goals all series to go along with a .976 save percentage.

"My goal coming in was to be better than (Andrey) Makarov," said Lanigan. "He is an elite goaltender in this league and playing on a world stage. He was one of the better goalies that we were going to face all year."

Boston Leier and Cole Sanford each had a goal and an assist for the seventh-seeded Tigers, who outscored Saskatoon 15-4 in the series, while Curtis Valk added a single goal.

Medicine Hat surprised many with the series win as they dropped all four meetings this season against Saskatoon and finished eight wins and 19 points behind them in regular-season standings.

"That feels unbelievable," said Tigers head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston. "I think that it is hard to put into words. I am so proud of the guys right now.

"I don't think there were a lot of people who thought we had a chance to win let alone do it in four games."

Lukas Sutter scored the lone goal for the Blades as Makarov turned away 25-of-28 shots in defeat.

Makarov, who led the WHL this year with 37 wins during the regular season, finished the series with a 3.66 goals-against average and .897 save percentage.

"Obviously, they are disappointed," said Blades head coach and general manager Lorne Molleken. "It is a pretty sad dressing room.

"Playoffs are a new game. Medicine Hat did a good job in a lot of different areas. They shut us down."

Medicine Hat went 1 for 7 on the power play while Saskatoon failed to score on three chances with the man advantage.

Seven 10-minute misconducts were handed out to the two clubs with 20 seconds remaining in the third period.

The Tigers still have to wait to find out who their second-round opponent will be.

The Blades will return to action on May 17 when they open the Memorial Cup tournament as the host against the champion of the Ontario Hockey League.

Elsewhere in the WHL, it was: Edmonton 4, Kootenay 0; Red Deer 3, Prince Albert 2; Portland 7, Everett 3 and Kelowna 4, Seattle 0.

At Medicine Hat, Alta., Valk opened the scoring at 4:23 of the first period with a power-play goal.

Sanford doubled his club's lead 2:23 into the second period and Leier added another at 6:01 to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.

Saskatoon fought hard in the third period, putting 18 shots against Lanigan, and Sutter ended his shutout bid at 7:36, however that was all the offence they could produce as Medicine Hat held on for the sweep.

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Oil Kings 4 Ice 0

At Edmonton, Laurent Brossoit stopped 20 shots for his second shutout of the series while Curtis Lazar and Henrik Samuelsson had a goal and an assist each as the Oil Kings blanked Kootenay to go up 3-1 in the first-round matchup.

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Rebels 3 Raiders 2

At Prince Albert, Sask., Turner Elson scored the winner at 10:51 of the third period and Patrik Bartosak made 29 saves as Red Deer edged the Raiders to sweep the first-round series 4-0.

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Winterhawks 7 Silvertips 3

At Everett, Wash., Nicolas Petan had two goals and two assists and Mac Carruth only had to make 10 saves as Portland took a 2-1 series lead over the Silvertips.

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Rockets 4 Thunderbirds 0

At Kent, Wash., Tyson Baillie scored twice and set up one more and Zach Franko had a goal and two assists as Kelowna avoided elimination by defeating the Thunderbirds, who lead the series 3-1.

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