On Saturday night, the Lethbridge Hurricanes played their second of two games in Regina at The Co-operators Arena against the host Pats. The ‘Canes were coming off a come-from-behind 2-1 shootout victory over the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday afternoon and they were facing a Pats team who had won back-to-back games to kick off the preseason over Moose Jaw (by an 8-1 margin) and the Calgary Hitmen (a see-saw 6-5 win) and it was the Sam Steel show as the 16-year-old lead the Pats with two goals and an assist in part of a 5-2 Regina victory.
With many rookies still on the club vying for spots on the roster, the Hurricanes changed their line up from the Friday’s game. Out was Griffin Foulk, Bryton Sayers, Jamal Watson, Andrew Nielson, Ethan King, Tyler Wong and Connor Rokosh, as well as goalie Zac Robidoux; while Riley Sheen, Tyler Bell, Thomas Lenchyshyn, Lenny Hackman, Kade Jensen, Brandon Kennedy, Jonny Hogue and Reid Duke drew into the line up.
The Hurricanes came out with another impressive period of hockey in the first against the Pats. The ‘Canes were generating good chances off the rush and the cycle game was good offensively. Defensively, the defense was stepping up at the blue line and not giving the Pats forwards much time to gain the zone. Both teams had power play chances in the first period, but it was an even-strength goal from Jaeger White that opened the scoring on a two-on-one at the 9:54 mark. Carter Folk made an excellent cross-seam pass to White who buried the one-timer past Dawson MacAuley to give the ‘Canes the 1-0 lead after one period – Pavel Skumatov picked up the second assist.
In the second period, the momentum seemed to shift in favour of the Pats after a bone-crushing hit by the Pats Luc Smith on Reid Duke right in front of the Regina bench at centre; Dexter Bricker would step in and fight Austin Wagner after a scrum following the hit. Regina would gain a boost after the hit and would tie the game at the 4:56 mark as Sam Steel scored to tie it 1-1. Hurricanes would get a power play later in the period, and just eight seconds into it after mis-communication between Nick Walters and Jaeger White, the Pats would transition on a two-on-one that was buried passed Jonny Hogue – who replaced Stuart Skinner – to give the Pats their first lead of the game 2-1 with 7:46 to go in the period. However, just over four minutes later, Thomas Lenchyshyn found Pavel Skumatov at the far blue line, Skumatov slipped one through to Sheen who beat Tyler Fuhr to tie it 2-2 after forty minutes.
The Hurricanes would start the third seemingly on their heels as the Pats came out strong and would take a 3-2 lead as Sam Steel ripped one over the shoulder of Hogue at the 5:10 mark after a sequence of turnovers in the defensive end by the ‘Canes. Lethbridge had a few good looks to tie the game, the first a chance by Duke but he hit the outside of the post and then quickly thereafter a chance by Sheen who was poke-checked by Fuhr, however, despite the pair of chances the play would be controlled by the Pats with chance after chance, but Hogue stood tall making a couple of good saves – his best off Steel who was bidding for a hattrick. Steel would get back on the score sheet, this time with an assist at the 14:00 minute mark as he offloaded a pass to Adam Brooks who beat Hogue high to the blocker side to make it 4-2 Regina. The Pats would seal the deal with an empty net with 2:04 to play as Patrick D’Amico iced it to give Regina a 5-2 win.
Stuart Skinner stopped 12 of 13 shots he faced in the game, while Jonny Hogue allowed three goals on 25 Regina shots.
The Hurricanes went 0/5 on the power play and gave up a shorthanded goal in the game – their second of the preseason. While the Pats were 0/3 with the extra man.
Final shots on goal favoured Regina by a 38-23 margin – ‘Canes gave up 21 in the third period.
The Hurricanes fell to 1-1 on the pre-season with the loss to the Pats, while Regina improves to a perfect 3-0. The ‘Canes will next be in action next Friday when they host the Calgary Hitmen in Coaldale – you can get tickets for that game for just $10 – game time will be 7pm.