Lethbridge Hurricanes (5-9-3-1) vs. Swift Current Broncos (11-8-0-2)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes returned to action on Friday night after six days off since their last game last Saturday in Kootenay, a 6-5 overtime loss, as the ‘Canes played host to the Swift Current Broncos at the ENMAX Centre.
The Hurricanes played a strong forty minutes that saw them build a 3-0 lead, but it quickly evaporated as the Broncos stormed back scoring three goals in a span of 2:18 before winning the game in overtime, 4-3.
The Hurricanes saw both Russian’s score in the same game for the first time as Nikita Milekhin scored his first WHL goal, while Pavel Skumatov scored for the first time since the season opener against the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Neither team would find the back of the net in the opening twenty minutes despite good chances for both clubs. The best chance went in favour of the Broncos as Carter Rigby moved in on a partial breakaway but was robbed by Zac Robidoux who was making his fourth straight start in place of Stuart Skinner who is still in Sarnia competing at the Under-17’s. There was some physicality in the period as Kord Pankewicz and Cavin Leth squared off in a marathon fight that last just about a minute long. ‘Canes out shot the Broncos 10-8 in the first period.
Early in the second, Taylor Cooper found the back of the net to give the ‘Canes a 1-0 lead. Just 2:40 into the period, Cooper tracked down a dump in by Bryton Sayers that rocketed out in front before Cooper snapped home his second goal in as many games. The Hurricanes would add another just 3:09 later as Tyler Wong made a nice move before off-loading to Milekhin who tipped home his first career goal – Wong now has points in 10 of his last 11 games and four goals and nine points on a six game points streak. ‘Canes were out shot 16-9 in the period.
In the third, the ‘Canes quickly added to their lead as Pavel Skumatov banged home his third of the season at the 4:11 mark – Andrew Nielsen and Kord Pankewicz picked up the assists. However, it was all Broncos from that point on. Swift Current completely out played the Hurricanes and had Lethbridge flat-footed. And it would pay off, as Tyler Steenbergen deflected a shot home at the 5:11 mark to begin the comeback. Just seven seconds after Steenbergen’s goal, Bronco’s Captain Colby Cave scored his first of three straight goals as Cave beat Robidoux for his fifth of the year making it 3-2. Just 2:11 later, Cave cut out of the corner uncontested and beat Robidoux low to the blocker to tie the game, 3-3. The teams would go to overtime despite many more good chances for the Broncos and a few looks for the ‘Canes. Shots in the third favoured Swift Current 18-10.
In overtime, the Broncos continued to play strong. At the 3:10 mark, it was Cave again redirecting a Brett Lernout point shot past Robidoux to complete the comeback as the Broncos handed the ‘Canes their third straight overtime loss, this time 4-3 in extra time.
Swift Current had the edge in shots in the game 46-30. Broncos had more power play opportunities as well as Swift went 0/4 while Lethbridge did not score on one chance with the extra man.
1) ‘Canes – #11 Taylor Cooper – (1 goal, 1 assist)
2) Broncos – #10 Colby Cave – (3 goals, including GWG)
3) ‘Canes – #10 Nikita Milekhin – (1 goal, first WHL goal)
The Hurricanes now fall to 5-9-3-1 on the season, and are now 4-1-3-0 in their last eight games. Lethbridge is right back at it Saturday night when the host the Edmonton Oil Kings at the ENMAX Centre on Military Appreciation Night. The Hurricanes will also unveil their new third jerseys on Saturday.