Lethbridge Hurricanes (0-1-0-0) vs. Medicine Hat Tigers (1-0-0-0)
Friday night at the ENMAX Centre was the first regular season game of the year for the Lethbridge Hurricanes as they hosted their southern Alberta rival Medicine Hat Tigers in the first of a home-and-home set to open the 2014/2015 Western Hockey League season.
Despite a struggle to generate shots on goal, the Hurricanes found themselves in front 2-0 half way through the second period, but three unanswered by the Tigers, with the winner coming with just two minutes left in the game, saw Medicine Hat escape town with a 3-2 victory.
The Tigers dominated the first period as the Hurricanes were out shot 15-3 in the opening period. Medicine Hat had a number of great scoring chances in the opening period, but Zac Robidoux was excellent stopping every shot in the period – the best coming off a cross-ice one-timer from Cole Sanford that the former Tigers’ goalie slid across to make the save. The ‘Canes had a couple of quality scoring chances in the first, both coming with their lone man advantage that they failed to score on as the first ended scoreless.
The ‘Canes came out buzzing early in the second, and would get rewarded at the 3:32 mark as Riley Sheen found rookie Pavel Skumatov in the slot and the 17-year-old put a laser of a shot past Tigers starter Nick Schneider to make it 1-0. Skumatov would get another just under nine minutes later as he shiffted out of the right corner before stuffing one through the pads of Schneider to make it 2-0 Lethbridge, however, from there, the Tigers took over. Just 1:19 after Skumatov’s second, Kyle Becker beat Robidoux on a snap shot from the top of the right circle to cut the lead in half. With just 1:30 left in the middle frame, Markus Eisenschmid tied the game with a sharp-angled back hander to make it 2-2 through forty minutes.
It was an exciting start to the third period with the two clubs trading chances. The Hurricanes thought they had taken the lead when a puck appeared to cross the line on a four-on-three power play, but it was immediately waived off by the official and after a lengthy review, it remained 2-2 to the chagrin of the ‘Canes who thought it was a good goal. The teams continued in back and forth play. Late in the period, the Tigers received back to back power play, while failing to connect on the first one, a Bryton Sayers delay-of-game penalty was deadly as just four seconds into the man advantage Connor Hobbs scored the winner on a rising wrist shot from the blue line that beat Robidoux making it a 3-2 final.
Final shots on goal favoured Medicine Hat 38-18 in the contest.
The Hurricanes drop their home opener for the second straight year to the Tigers, although this was a much closer game as last year the Tigers beat up the Hurricanes 6-1 in the season opener.
The two clubs will get right back at it as they will face off in the Tigers home opener at the Medicine Hat Arena tomorrow. Game time is 7:30pm – you can hear the pregame show on ROCK 106 beginning around 7:15pm