Lethbridge Hurricanes (6-19-3-1) vs. Red Deer Rebels (16-11-3-1)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes hosted the 19th Annual Canadian Tire Teddy and Toque Toss at the ENMAX Centre on Saturday night as they hosted Riley Sheen and the Red Deer Rebels. The Hurricanes played a strong game and had many scoring chances, but it was the Rebels that skated to a 4-2 win.
The Hurricanes kicked off the first period with a lot of jump and good pace early on in the first period peppering Rebels goalie Rylan Toth with a few good chances in the first five minutes, but could not beat the big goalie. Nick Walters would take an interference penalty and the Rebels struck on the power play. Brett Cote fanned on a shot that bounced off the end wall right to Wyatt Johnson who banged home the puck into the empty net at the 6:38 mark making it 1-0 Red Deer. Before the period was out, the Rebels added another on the man advantage, this time Evan Polei let a high rising wrist shot fly from inside the blue line that beat Stuart Skinner high to the blocker – former ‘Cane Riley Sheen picked up an assist on the goal in his return to Lethbridge just five days after being traded to Red Deer.
The second period was relatively even for both sides. The only goal coming at the 5:57 mark when Johnson skated off the left-wing half wall uncontested to the net and beat a sprawled out Skinner to give Red Deer a 3-0 lead. The Hurricanes continued to generate offense, Jamal Watson had a great chance midway through the period but hit the crossbar on a high wrist shot. ‘Canes best chance through forty minutes however, was courtesy of Zane Jones who had a breakaway but shot wide as Red Deer held a 3-0 lead after forty minutes of play.
In the third, the Hurricanes finally broke through to see the abundance of bears fly. Taylor Cooper scored the Teddy Bear Toss goal with just 7:56 left in the game. Tyler Wong skated the puck out of his own zone on the right wing resulting in a two-on-one and Wong fed a beautiful pass across to Cooper who roofed it by Toth as he sent the bears flying. The goal was a big one as it cut the lead to 3-1 for Red Deer. ‘Canes continued to press, and would take a penalty, but on the penalty kill a strong job on the forecheck by Wong resulted in Jones goal as he stuffed one into the net to cut the lead to one. Lethbridge pulled the goalie with under a minute left but Brooks Maxwell put the proverbial nail in the coffin as he found the gaping cage with just 37 second left in the game to see it a 4-2 final.
Final shots in the game favoured the Rebels by a 37-19 count, but the shot totals did not reflect the way the game went or the scoring chances they were able to create.
The Hurricanes went 0/2 on the power play, while the Rebels were 2/5.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Rebels – #21 Wyatt Johnson – (2 goals, including GWG)
2) Rebels – #31 Rylan Toth – (17 saves)
3) ‘Canes – #74 Stuart Skinner – (33 saves)
The Hurricanes fall to 6-19-3-1 on the season but are showing signs of improvement despite the losses. The ‘Canes are next in action this coming Wednesday when they host the high-flying Kelowna Rockets at the ENMAX Centre.