Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Viper Alumni Tambellini Scores Third Playoff Overtime Winner:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Adam Tambellini scored his third overtime goal of the WHL Playoffs Tuesday giving the Calgary Hitmen a 2-1 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings.  Brandon leads the best of seven Eastern Conference Championship series 2-1 with Game 4 going tonight in Calgary.  In 11 playoff games Tambellini has (9-goals-12-assists-21-points).

Tambellini attended the New York Rangers Prospect Development Camp in July was one of twenty players reassigned from the Rangers Training Camp in September. The Rangers reassigned Tambellini to the Hitmen on September 24th 2014.

Tambellini left the University of North Dakota last season for the Western Hockey League joining the Calgary Hitmen in early January after being acquired in a trade with the Portland Winterhawks. Tambellini played a season and a half in Vernon (2011-13) before being traded to Surrey on January 10th 2013 along with future considerations (Michael Roberts) for Mason Blacklock & future considerations (Jordan Klimek and Demico Hannoun). In 91 regular season games with the Vipers Tambellini collected (49-goals-46-assists-95-points). Tambellini was drafted 64th overall in the 3rd Round by the New York Rangers at the 2013 NHL Draft.

Adam Tambellini's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Hitmen website:

AT IT AGAIN: Tambellini strikes in OT to claim Game 3 for Hitmen

Apr 28, 2015

By Andrew Schopp - (@Azschopp)

As bench boss of the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears in 2010, Mark French had Alex Giroux pegged as his clutch man.

Thrust in a deep playoff run in his first year coaching a WHL team, French now has Calgary Hitmen forward Adam Tambellini.

For the third time of the 2015 WHL Playoffs, Tambellini scored in overtime to lift the Hitmen to a critical 2-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Championship series on Monday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

With the win, the Hitmen cut into the Wheat Kings series lead and made it a 2-1 best-of-seven ahead of Game 4 on Wednesday in Calgary.

“I had Alex when we won the Calder Cup in Hershey,” French said when asked if he’s ever coached a player with a similar knack for overtime tallies. “It’s funny how in these (playoff) runs certain guys step up.”

With key pieces in Chase Lang, Jake Virtanen and Connor Rankin missing from the Hitmen lineup, the team’s core of freshmen stepped up to the plate.

A newly formed line combination of forwards Beck Malenstyn, Pavel Karnaukov and Carsen Twarysnki shined in a scoreless first period, helping the Hitmen to keep pace with the Wheat Kings as they were outshot by a narrow 12-10 margin.

Scoring both Hitmen goals on Tuesday, Tambellini was impressed with his younger teammates' ability to fill the void left by injuries and suspensions, which have struck as a major blow to the team’s roster.

“Our guys are doing a good job of stepping into roles with Rankin, Virtanen and Lang out,” Tambellini said. “Those are three guys that log a lot of minutes. Our young guys have stepped up and done really well.”

The Wheat Kings struck first just under five minutes into the second period when forward John Quenneville snapped a wrister past Hitmen starting goalie Brendan Burke to crack things open.

Calgary’s struggle to get on the board in the early going was not due to a lack of effort.

The Hitmen young guns continued to make an impact as they helped generate a series of strong chances, including a breakaway by Twarynski, which was stopped by Wheat Kings netminder Jordan Papirny to keep it 1-0 after 40.

“It’ll be an experience I am sure they are going to build off of,” French said of the Hitmen rookies’ increased role. “They are giving us some good minutes. Twarynski is playing hard; he’s finishing his checks, he can skate well. Beck is much the same way and Karnaukhov is doing a good job.”

Working off an outstanding 43-save performance in Game 2 at Westman Place, Burke was once again in solid form in the third frame.

While the puck travelled freely between the Hitmen and Wheat Kings zones, both sides got their share of licks in as Burke stood his ground to keep it a one-goal game.

Burke, who turned away 33 shots in the Game 3 victory, said going down 3-0 in the series was not something the Hitmen were ready to accept as a reality.

“Let’s face it, if you go down 3-0 to a team like that, it’s a long shot to come back,” Burke said. “We knew what was on the line and we knew how to execute.”

Just a few minutes later, the Hitmen finally knotted things up as while working on their second power play of the night, Tambellini wired a howitzer past Papirny with a one-time feed from Travis Sanheim.

Tambellini’s 11th of the playoffs would stand the test of time as with the Wheat Kings outshooting the Hitmen 34-30, the third period expired to ship the game to overtime for the second time of the series.

Just over three minutes into the Hitmen seventh overtime frame of the playoffs, a puck in the Wheat Kings zone found itself loose in the slot, where Tambellini swiftly jumped on it to hammer it home and clinch victory.

“Sometimes in overtime you can be a little too passive,” Tambellini said of the Hitmen shot-heavy mentality in sudden death. “We wanted to focus on being aggressive and take a chance. We were fortunate to get a bounce that popped into the slot.”

The Hitmen immediately look ahead to Game 4 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Puck drop is at 7 p.m. MT.

QUICK HITS: Not dressed for the Hitmen on Tuesday were Chase Lang, Jake Virtanen, Connor Rankin, Aaron Hyman (AP) and Kyle Dumba (AP) … Hitmen prospect Bryce Platt won a bronze medal at the 2015 TELUS Cup with the Saskatchewan Midget-AAA Hockey League Regina Pat-Canadians. Platt, a Hitmen protected list addition, tallied a goal and an assist in the tournament … Hitmen forward Pavel Karnaukhov entered Tuesday’s game sitting third in playoff rookie scoring with goals and five assists. Jordy Stallard is right behind him with three goals and four assists … Freshmen Hitmen have combined for 34 points in the playoffs so far.

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