Regular season: 52-17-3-0, first in the WHL’s Central Division, first in Eastern Conference.

Playoffs: first round def. Red Deer Rebels (35-28-4-5- regular season) 4-3, second round def. Regina Pats (36-28-2-6) 4-0, conference final defeated Calgary Hitmen (39-26-3-4) and won WHL final over Vancouver Giants (45-17-3-7) 4-3.

Head coach and general manager: Willie Desjardins (fifth season); Associate coach: Shaun Clouston (fourth season); Assistant coaches: Darren Kruger (second season) and Bryan Ellerman (seventh season).

Playoff performers: D Kris Russell (four goals, 15 assists, C Darren Helm (10 goals, 12 assists) LW Chris Stevens (eight goals, 11 assists) and G Matt Keetley (16-7, 2.18 GAA, .916 save percentage).

In net: Keetley is playing in his overage season posted a 42-11-1 record in regular season play with a 2.19 goals against average, a .913 save percentage and six shutouts. Ryan Holfeld is the back up with a 8-5-2 record in regular season play with a 2.92 goals against average, a .890 save percentage and one shutout.

Unsung heroes: LW Colton Grant who is one of the team’s top checkers. D David Schlemko whose offensive touch is lost behind that of Russell’s.

Draftees: Michael Sauer, New York Rangers (second round, 40th overall); Russell, Columbus Blue Jackets 2005 (third round, 67th overall); Gord Baldwin, Calgary Flames 2005 (third round, 69th overall); Helm, Detroit Red Wings 2005 (fifth round, 132nd overall); Keetley, Calgary Flames 2005 (fifth round, 158th overall); Jordan Bendfeld, Phoenix Coyotes 2006 (fifth round, 152nd overall); Dorsett, Columbus Blue Jackets 2006 (seventh round, 189th overall).

Just notes: Russell, Keetley and C Daine Todd are the only remaining members of the Tigers team that participated in the 2004 Memorial Cup.

Memorial Cup History: This will mark the Tigers fifth trip to the tournament. The Tigers made their last appearance at the 2004 tournament in Kelowna losing 6-5 in the semifinal to the Gatineau Olympiques.

– Darren Steinke, Medicine Hat News


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