The Lethbridge Hurricanes wrapped up a three-in-three weekend on Sunday night at home against the Kelowna Rockets in the marquee matchup in the Western Hockey League. Both teams entered flying high. The ‘Canes entered the game 10-0-1-0 in their last 11 games while the Rockets entered 8-1-1-0 in their last 10. But only one streak continued as the Hurricanes improved to 11-0-1-0 in their last 12 games earning a 6-5 victory over the Rockets.
It was a crazy start to the game as Kelowna controlled the opening two minutes and would score early as Conner Bruggen-Cate jumped on a rebound to beat Stuart Skinner 1:35 into the game to make it 1-0 Rockets. The Hurricanes quickly answered back to tie the game as Brennan Menell jumped into the rush and beat Michael Herringer on a pass from Tyler Wong to make it 1-1 – Skinner earned the assist on the goal. ‘Canes added two more quick ones 1:26 apart. First, Calen Addison buried his fifth before Jordy Bellerive netted his 13th of the year on the power play to put Lethbridge up 3-1. Herringer was lifted from the game after giving up three goals on four shots. Brodan Salmond came into the game and stopped all seven shots he faced in the period. Kelowna pulled within one with 1:59 left in the period as Calvin Thurkauf ripped one over the glove of Skinner as the ‘Canes led 3-2 after twenty minutes of play.
Rockets continued the momentum into the second period as James Hilsendager scored his first as a Rocket at the 6:30 mark to tie the game at 3-3 as he beat Skinner from well out over the glove. Kelowna forged ahead for the second time as Thurkauf netted his second of the night and 17th of the season at the 9:42 mark with a power play goal to put the Rockets in front 4-3. However, the lead was short-lived as Colton Kroeker buried a centering pass from Wong passed Salmond to tie it at 4-4 – Giorgio Estephan picked up the second assist on the goal. Shots favoured the Rockets 16-11 in the second period. In the second period, Skinner became the all-time leader in franchise saves surpassing Darcy Austin’s mark of 3,516 set between 1990 and 1992.
The see-saw battle continued in the third period as the Hurricanes jumped out to a 5-4 lead as Tanner Nagel netted his sixth of the season on a breakaway at the 10:26 mark – Zane Franklin and Brennan Riddle picked up the assists on the goal. The Hurricanes made it a two goal lead as Egor Babenko scored his ninth of the year with 4:57 left in the game putting the ‘Canes ahead 6-4 – Ryan Bowen and Bellerive earned the helpers. Kelowna made things interesting as Nolan Foote scored with 3:18 left in the third period but that was as close as the Rockets came as the Hurricanes hung on to a 6-5 victory.
Shots in the third period were 13-13. Kelowna held the edge 43-35 in the game. The Hurricanes went 2/4 on the power play while Kelowna was 1/3.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – 3 assists
2) Rockets – #27 Calvin Thurkauf – 2 goals
3) ‘Canes – #22 Egor Babenko – 1 goal
The win for the ‘Canes snapped a ten game losing streak against Kelowna; it was their first win over the Rockets in February 24th, 2012. The Hurricanes have now won six straight home games and six in a row overall. The victory improved the ‘Canes record to 11-0-1-0 in their last 12 games and 18-11-2-2 on the season.
The Hurricanes are back in action on Wednesday when they host the Kamloops Blazers at 7:00pm. Tickets are available online, by calling 403- 329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre or Yates Ticket Centre’s.