GAME DAY: ‘Canes vs. Pats

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Who: 
Lethbridge Hurricanes vs. Regina Pats
Where: ENMAX Centre
When: 7pm puck drop, pregame at 6:45pm
Listen: ROCK 106
Watch: WHL Live

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‘Canes vs. Pats in 2014/15:
 1-2-0-0
Last Meeting: December 17th/2014 – 5-4 Lethbridge in OT (in Regina)

‘Canes Record: 12-29-3-3
‘Canes Home Record: 7-12-2-3
‘Canes Road Record: 5-17-1-0

Pats Record: 26-17-4-2
Pats Home Record:
12-7-3-1
Pats Road Record: 14-10-1-1

‘Canes Leading Scorer: Tyler Wong (21G, 21A, 42P)
Pats Leading Scorer: Adam Brooks (20G, 23A, 43P)

The Break Down

The Lethbridge Hurricanes play the final of a busy stretch of games that saw them play four in five nights. The Hurricanes are coming off a 6-3 loss last night to the Kelowna Rockets – the third straight game the ‘Canes have seen a 6-3 final.

Giorgio Estephan and Andrew Nielsen both scored in the game while Jamal Watson, who returned to the line-up after missing the last six games with an upper body injury, scored his 17th of the season. Jayden Sittler, who relieved Stuart Skinner at the start of the second period, stopped 35 of 37 shots he saw in the final forty minutes. Skinner gave up four goals on 14 shots in the first period.

The Pats enter tonight having struggled since the trade deadline. Regina is coming off a 4-3 overtime loss last night to the Kootenay Ice. Taylor Cooper returns to Lethbridge after a trade leading up to the trade deadline that saw him shipped to the Pats for 17-year-old defenseman Brady Reagan. Tonight will be the final of four meetings between the ‘Canes and Pats – Regina won the first two, Lethbridge the last one.

What To Watch

Lethbridge Point of View

Ricky Ryp Night: The Hurricanes tonight will honour the memory of former NHLer Rick Rypien. Rypien, who passed away at the age of 27 was from Crowsnest Pass and played his junior hockey with the Regina Pats. Tonight, members of Rypien’s family will be in attendance and on-hand for a ceremonial puck drop. There will also be donations collected with proceeds going to the Ricky Ryp Foundation.

Solid Goaltending: While the Hurricanes haven’t been winning every night, the goaltending tandem of Stuart Skinner and Jayden Sittler have been playing well enough to give the ‘Canes a chance to win. The duo, who have been splitting games recently, have been as good as you can ask for. Sittler, who has picked up a 3-3-0-0 record in six starts with the ‘Canes has posted a goals against average of 3.77 but an impressive .915 save percentage. And yes, in case you were wondering, Jayden is the second cousin of Hockey Hall of Famer, Daryl Sittler.

Regina Point of View

Cooper Returns: Tonight will see former Hurricane Taylor Cooper return to town for the first time since a trade to the Pats. Cooper was dealt to Regina in exchange for 17-year-old defenseman Brady Reagan. In 38 games with the ‘Canes this season Cooper collected 28 points (12g-16a). In 9 games since the trade, he has chipped in 11 points (7g-4a).

Downward Spiral: Since the trade deadline when the Pats off-loaded Dryden Hunt and Kyle Burroughs to Medicine Hat and Morgan Klimchuk to Brandon, the Pats have been in a free-fall. In their first eight games since the January 10th trade deadline, the Pats have posted a record of 1-4-2-1 and have slipped to fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Rockets Soar To 6-3 Win Over ‘Canes

Lethbridge Hurricanes     vs.     rockets

Lethbridge Hurricanes (12-30-3-3)     vs.     Kelowna Rockets  (38-8-3-2)

The Lethbridge Hurricanes played the first of a back-to-back games at home this weekend as they hosted the second best team in the Canadian Hockey League the Kelowna Rockets at the ENMAX Centre Friday night. Leon Draisaitl scored twice in a 6-3 win for the Rockets.

Jamal Watson and Carter Folk both returned to the line up Friday for the Hurricanes. Watson had missed six games with an upper-body injury while Folk was sidelined for the last three with an injury.

Draisaitl didnt’t take long to make his presence known as the Edmonton Oilers’ third overall pick from the 2014 NHL Entry Draft opened the scoring just 1:32 into the game swatting a puck passed ‘Canes goalie Stuart Skinner to make it 1-0. Draisaitl added his second of the night at the 10:59 mark as a puck bounced right to him in the slot. Kelowna added two more 23 seconds apart to hold a 4-0 lead after twenty minutes of play as Madison Bowey scored at the 14:04 mark before Gage Quinney scored his first of two in the game at 14:27. Rockets held the edge in shots 14-11 in the first period.

Despite being down 4-0 after the first period, the Hurricanes had multiple quality scoring chances in the first period, including a Mike Winther breakaway, but Michael Herringer stood tall in the Rockets crease. Skinner was relieved after the first period after giving up four goals on 14 shots. Jayden Sittler played the final forty minutes and stopped 35 of 37 shots he faced, a save percentage of .945.

Kelowna struck again early in the second period making it a 5-0 lead as Quinney tapped home a gimme on a beautiful set-up by Josh Morrissey 8:46 into the middle frame. Watson, as he usually does, showed his speed on a breakaway before Cole Martin took him out resulting in a penalty shot. Watson, who is 4/5 in the shootout, failed to score on the second penalty shot of the season for him. At the 11:39 mark, with a power play Tyler Wong spotted Andrew Nielsen moving in on the left point and the 18-year-old defenseman snapped one over the glove of Herringer making it 5-1. Shots favoured 19-7 in the second.

The Hurricanes won the third period outscoring the Rockets 2-1. Justin Kirkland scored his 18th of the season to make it 6-1 at the 8:57 mark. Giorgio Estephan continued his hot hand extending point streak to five games as he tied his career high with his 12th goal of the season – Jaeger White picked up the lone assist. Just 2:23 after Estephan scored, Watson scored his 17th of the season just throwing one to the net that beat Herringer up high making it a 6-3 final.

Shots favoured the Rockets 18-7 in the third period and 51-25 in the game.

Three stars of the game were:

1) Rockets – #29 Leon Draisaitl – (2 goals, 1 assist)
2) Rockets – #23 Justin Kirkland – (1 goal, 2 assists)
3) Rockets – #20 Gage Quinney – (2 goals, including GWG)

The win for the Rockets sweeps the season series against the Hurricanes as they went 3-0, while the ‘Canes went 0-2-0-1 as one of the wins (December 10th) was in a shootout. The Hurricanes are back in action on Saturday night when they welcome the Regina Pats to the ENMAX Centre for the final time this season.

GAME DAY: ‘Canes vs. Rockets

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Who: 
Lethbridge Hurricanes vs. Kelowna Rockets
Where: ENMAX Centre
When: 7pm puck drop, pregame at 6:45pm
Listen: ROCK 106
Watch: WHL Live

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‘Canes vs. Rockets in 2014/15:
 0-1-0-1
Last Meeting: December 10th/2014 – 4-3 Kelowna in shootout (in Lethbridge)

‘Canes Record: 12-29-3-3
‘Canes Home Record: 7-12-2-3
‘Canes Road Record: 5-17-1-0

Rockets Record: 37-8-3-1
Rockets Home Record:
17-6-1-0
Rockets Road Record: 20-2-2-1

‘Canes Leading Scorer: Tyler Wong (21G, 20A, 41P)
Rockets Leading Scorer: Nick Merkley (16G, 53A, 69P)

The Break Down

The Lethbridge Hurricanes play host to the high-flying Kelowna Rockets tonight in the final of three meetings between the two teams. Despite dropping both games to the Rockets this year, the ‘Canes have played them very tough having lost 4-2 in Kelowna on October 11th and 4-3 in a shootout December 10th in Lethbridge.

The Hurricanes are in the midst of one the busiest stretches of the season as tonight will be the fifth game in the last eight nights. The ‘Canes have won two of their last three games after picking up a 6-3 win over the Kootenay Ice on Wednesday night. Lethbridge has also won back-to-back home games for the first time this season.

The Rockets, who are currently ranked second in the country only behind the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, are coming off a rare blemish. Kelowna fell 2-1 in a shootout on Wednesday in Edmonton to the Oil Kings. It was the second game in a row that the Rockets had gone to a shootout. Tonight will be the third of a four game Central Division road trip for the Rockets.

What To Watch

Lethbridge Point of View

Home Ice = Advantage: For the first time all season the Lethbridge Hurricanes have won back-to-back home victories with wins over Prince George (7-4) and Kootenay (6-3). The ‘Canes are up seven home victories this season with the win on Wednesday – that matches the total of wins they had at the ENMAX Centre all of last year.

Burke Proving Critics Wrong: When former ‘Canes GM swung an early December trade with the Red Deer Rebels sending Riley Sheen (then the leading scorer of the ‘Canes) for Brayden Burke and Devan Fafard, the jury was still out on what Burke would bring in return. And through his first 16 games in a ‘Canes uniform he appears to be a hidden gem. The 17-year-old from Edmonton has picked up 17 points (3g-14a) with the ‘Canes and has also helped Giorgio Estephan and Tyler Wong take the next step in their development.

Kelowna Point of View

Purely Stacked: The Rockets currently sit second in the country and you don’t get there without a pretty deep roster. Among the all-star laden roster include NHL draft picks Madison Bowey, Josh Morrissey and Leon Draisaitl, among others. Having racked up 37 wins already (most in the WHL), it is safe to say the Rockets will be in the conversation with the Memorial Cup.

Another NHLer Comes to Town: On Wednesday, Sam Reinhart graced the ENMAX Centre’s presence with the Kootenay Ice. Reinhart, who went second overall in this last year’s NHL Entry Draft by Buffalo and started the season with the Sabres. By all accounts, Reinhart was good enough to play in the NHL this season. For the second straight home game, a player that is good enough to play in the NHL will be playing the ‘Canes. Tonight will likely be the last time you will ever see Leon Draisaitl suit up in Lethbridge. The big German, who was taken one spot after Reinhart, played the first 37 games of his season with the Edmonton Oilers before being sent back to junior and subsequently traded to Kelowna from Prince Albert.

‘Canes Get By Ice

Lethbridge Hurricanes     vs.    ice

Lethbridge Hurricanes (12-29-3-3)     vs.     Kootenay Ice (26-23-0-1)

The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored once in the first, twice in the second and three times in the third period en route to a 6-3 triumph over the Kootenay Ice Wednesday night at the ENMAX Centre.

The Hurricanes were once again without Jamal Watson, Carter Folk and Nick Walters. For the second straight night affiliate call-up Zane Franklin was in the line up for the ‘Canes and factored in on the scoring.

The Hurricanes had good jump from the start of the puck and had countless terrific scoring chances in the first ten minutes of the game but couldn’t beat Ice netminder Wyatt Hoflin. Pavel Skumatov thought he had scored, but the goal was quickly waived off as Tyler Wong made incidental contact with the goalie after being pushed into the net. At the 14:18 mark, a big rebound was let out by Jayden Sittler and 20-year-old Austin Vetterl jumped on the loose puck and made a nice move to the forehand making it 1-0 Kootenay. The lead, however, lasted all but 27 seconds as Franklin took a pass from Jaeger White, made a nice inside move on Ice defenseman Tyler King before unleashing a wicked snap shot by Hoflin for his first WHL goal in just his second game. As they were still announcing the Franklin goal in the building, Sam Reinhart responded scoring just 18 seconds later to restore the one-goal lead for the Ice as Kootenay held a 2-1 lead after one period of play. Shots favoured the Ice 11-8 in the first period.

In the second period, the Hurricanes again came out flying and quickly tied the game as Tyler Wong found Brayden Burke wide open at the side of the net as he tapped home his third of the season to make it 2-2 just 1:32 into the period. Both teams had chances in the period, but it would stay 2-2 until the 13:53 mark when Wong just threw one to the goal that beat Hoflin to give the ‘Canes a 3-2 lead after two periods. Ice out shot the ‘Canes 14-9 in the second frame.

The ‘Canes were buzzing early in the third as well scoring three more goals in the first 6:54 for the period. Skumatov made good and scored a goal that counted at the 2:39 mark burying one by Hoflin to make it a 4-2 ‘Canes lead – Kord Pankewicz and Brandon Kennedy earned the assists (the first career point for Kennedy). Just 1:32 later Giorgio Estephan continued his hot hand chipping in his 11th of the season before Kennedy had a Skumatov shot bank off him and into the net for this first WHL tally to make it 6-2. That spelled the end of the night for Hoflin who allowed six goals on 23 shots. The ‘Canes got into penalty trouble the rest of the way and only tested Ice back-up Keelan Williams once. Tim Bozon made it 6-3 with a power play goal, but that was all the Ice would get as Sittler made 38 saves for his third win with the Hurricanes.

Final shots favoured the Ice 41-24 in the game. Lethbridge went 0/1 on the power play, while Kootenay went 1/4.

Three stars of the game were:

1) ‘Canes – #19 Brayden Burke – (1 goal, 2 assists)
2) ‘Canes – #12 Pavel Skumatov – (1 goal, 1 assist)
3) ‘Canes – #9 Giorgio Estephan – (1 goal, 1 assist)

The ‘Canes improved to an impressive 5-1-0-1 on Wednesday night games and have now won two out of three straight, and back-to-back at home. They’ve also scored 13 goals in their last two home games.

The win also ties the Hurricanes total of victories from last year (12) and surpass the total of points from last year as the ‘Canes are now up to 30 – they only mustered 29 a season ago.

The ‘Canes are back in action on Friday night when they host Leon Draisaitl, Josh Morrissey, Madison Bowey and the rest of the Kelowna Rockets. Game time is 7pm at the ENMAX Centre.

GAME DAY: ‘Canes vs. Ice

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Who: 
Lethbridge Hurricanes vs. Kootenay Ice
Where: ENMAX Centre
When: 7pm puck drop, pregame at 6:45pm
Listen: ROCK 106
Watch: WHL Live

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‘Canes vs. Ice in 2014/15:
 0-2-1-0
Last Meeting: November 21st/2014 – 5-1 Ice (in Kootenay)

‘Canes Record: 11-29-3-3
‘Canes Home Record: 6-12-2-3
‘Canes Road Record: 5-17-1-0

Ice Record: 26-22-0-1
Ice Home Record:
16-8-0-0
Ice Road Record: 10-14-0-1

‘Canes Leading Scorer: Tyler Wong (20G, 18A, 38P)
Ice Leading Scorer: Jaedon Descheneau (24G, 34A, 58P)

The Break Down

The Hurricanes play the second of a midweek back-to-back tonight as they welcome the Kootenay Ice for the second time this season. The ‘Canes are coming off a 6-3 loss last night in Medicine Hat to the Tigers.

Tyler Wong, Ryley Lindgren and Giorgio Estephan all scored in the game for the ‘Canes. Brayden Burke added two assists, while Kord Pankewicz also chipped in on the offence. Stuart Skinner made 33 saves in the loss.

Tonight, the ‘Canes host a hot Ice team who’ve won four straight games. Kootenay currently sits sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 26-22-0-1 record. Since November 1st, the Ice are an impressive 23-9-0-1. Three of those wins have come against the ‘Canes.

What To Watch

Lethbridge Point of View

Home Cooking: The Hurricanes are in the midst of their busiest stretch of the second half of the season with six games in nine nights. What makes that blow a little bit softer, is that a majority of those games come at home. The ‘Canes have picked up six home wins this season, but will hope to establish the ENMAX Centre as a tough place to play.

Beast-Mode: Giorgio Estephan is quickly showing why he was taken fourth overall in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. Heading into Tuesday’s contest in Medicine Hat, Estephan has been one of the hottest players in the WHL. The 17-year-old, who credits his line-mates Tyler Wong and Brayden Burke for his success, has racked up 25 points (9g-16a) in his last 17 games and has posted eight multi-point games including four three-point efforts.

Kootenay Point of View

Four In A Row: The Ice enter action tonight having won four straight games. Kootenay is coming off a 7-4 win Sunday over the Prince George Cougars. The last time the ‘Canes hosted the Ice, Kootenay had won four in a row and extended it to five with a 4-2 win on November 15th. The Ice are an impressive 23-9-0-1 since a 6-5 overtime win November 1st against the Hurricanes. They started 3-13-0-0.

Four-Headed Monster: The quartet of Tim Bozon, Jaedon Descheneau Luke Philp and Sam Reinhart have been terrific this season for the Ice since Reinhart returned from the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. The three are arguably four of the most dangerous players in the league. The four have combined for 194 points (75g-119a). More than 45 percent of Kootenay’s goals come from the four.

Tigers Double Up ‘Canes

Lethbridge Hurricanes     vs.    Tigers

Lethbridge Hurricanes (11-29-3-3)     vs.     Medicine Hat Tigers (34-12-1-1)

The Lethbridge Hurricanes played the first of a midweek back-to-back as they visited the Medicine Hat Tigers for the third time this season and the first time since December 28th when Nick Schneider and then ‘Canes goalie Zac Robidoux got in a fight. Despite a strong first period for the ‘Canes where they scored all three goals, the Tigers went on to a 6-3 win.

The ‘Canes were still without some key players as Nick Walters, Jamal Watson and Carter Folk all remained out with injury while Carter Amson served the first of a five-game suspension. The Tigers were also without many regulars as Tommy Vannelli, Ty Stanton, Steven Owre, Mason Shaw, Anthony Ast and Kyle Burroughs missed the game for the Tigers.

Hurricanes second round draft pick, 43rd overall in this past years draft Zane Franklin made his WHL debut. The just 16-year-old looked good in his first game in a ‘Canes uniform almost scoring in the third period.

The first period was a fast period. Tigers opened the scoring 3:32 into the game as Markus Eisenschmid buried his 14th of the night on a pass from Trevor Cox – Cole Sanford picked up the second assist. The Hurricanes however would equalize less than 30 as Tyler Wong snapped one home from the high slot for his 20th goal of the year to make it 1-1. The ‘Canes added another as Ryley Lindgren put one to the goal, the puck squeezed through Schneider and into the net for Lindgren’s second of the year – Florian Baltram and Brady Reagan picked up the assists (the first point as a ‘Cane for Reagan). Despite taking the lead, just 18 seconds later Eisenschmid beat Skinner for the second time to make it 2-2. Giorgio Estephan continued his hot hand as he received a pass from Brayden Burke, Estephan moved in on the right side and slipped one by Schneider to give the ‘Canes a 3-2 lead after twenty minutes of play. Shots favoured the Tigers 16-8 in the first.

Tyler Lewington scored twice in the second for the Tigers to give them another lead after forty minutes. The Tigers Captain scored his first at the 7:43 mark to tie the game 3-3 – Cole Sanford and Trevor Cox each picked up the assists on the goal. With just 8.3 second left in the period, Lewington stepped into another one as he beat Skinner on the blocker side to give Medicine Hat a 4-3 lead after two periods. Tigers held the edge in shots 11-8 and 27-16 through the two periods.

In the third period, the Tigers added a few more. First, Trevor Cox played give-and-go with Cole Sanford before snapping one high over the blocker of Skinner at the 2:49 mark to make it a 5-3 Tigers lead. Just under five minutes later, Medicine Hat added a power play goal as Chad Butcher tried to centre in front but it bounced off Kord Pankewicz into the back of the net to make it 6-3, and that was how it ended.

Final shots favoured the Tigers 39-25 in the game. ‘Canes went 0/4 on the power play while the the Tigers finished 1/3.

Three stars of the game were:

1) Tigers – #16 Markus Eisenschmid – (2 goals, 1 assist)
2) Tigers – #5 Tyler Lewington – (2 goals, including GWG)
3) Tigers – #36 Trevor Cox – (1 goal, 2 assists)

The Hurricanes return home Wednesday to host Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice at the ENMAX Centre at 7pm tomorrow.

GAME DAY: ‘Canes @ Tigers

GameDayPreviewGame46-Tigers

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Who: 
Lethbridge Hurricanes @ Medicine Hat Tigers
Where: Medicine Hat Arena
When: 7pm puck drop, pregame at 6:45pm
Listen: ROCK 106
Watch: WHL Live

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‘Canes vs. Tigers in 2014/15:
 1-3-0-0
Last Meeting: December 28th/2014 – 8-4 Tigers (in Medicine Hat)

‘Canes Record: 11-28-3-3
‘Canes Home Record: 6-12-2-3
‘Canes Road Record: 5-16-1-0

Tigers Record: 33-12-1-1
Tigers Home Record:
19-5-1-0
Tigers Road Record: 14-7-0-1

‘Canes Leading Scorer: Tyler Wong (19G, 18A, 37P)
Tigers Leading Scorer: Trevor Cox (20G, 60A, 80P)

The Break Down

The Hurricanes play the first of four games in the next five nights tonight as they visit the Medicine Hat Tigers in Medicine Hat. The ‘Canes have won once in four tries against the Tigers this year – their lone win, a 6-5 triumph on December 27th.

The ‘Canes are coming off a big 7-4 win over the Prince George Cougars on Saturday night at the ENMAX Centre that snapped a five-game losing streak. The ‘Canes saw three point efforts from Florian Baltram (2g-1a), Giorgio Estephan (1g-2a), Ryley Lindgren and Brayden Burke who all had three assists.

Tonight, they take on one of the toughest teams in the WHL. The Tigers currently sit first in the Central Division with 68 points and hold down the second spot in the Eastern Conference. Medicine Hat has won four straight games after beating the Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday afternoon at Rexall Place.

What To Watch

Lethbridge Point of View

Secondary Scoring: The ‘Canes finally saw some secondary scoring, something that was desperately needed. The ‘Canes top line of Tyler Wong, Giorgio Estephan and Brayden Burke combined for eight points in Saturday’s 7-4 win. The second line of Florian Baltram, Ryley Lindgren and Mike Winther also combined for eight points in the game.

AP Call-Up: The Hurricanes, who called up Ryan Vandervlis on Saturday for the third time since he was re-assigned to Midget-AAA, will call up yet another young prospect. Zane Franklin will make his WHL debut tonight as he will suit up for the ‘Canes wearing jersey #11. The just 16-year-old has picked up 31 points (11g-20a) in 26 games with the Lloydminster Bobcats Midget AAA hockey team this season.

Medicine Hat Point of View

Fire Power: The Tigers boast the top two scorers in the entire WHL as Trevor Cox and Cole Sanford sit 1-2 in league scoring. Cox, who has 80 points (20g-60a), has more assists than all but just seven other players in the WHL have points. While Cox leads the league in assists, it just so happens that Sanford leads the league in goals with 40 – he also has 32 assists to go along with his 40 tallies.

Stacked D: While they have some artillery up front, the Tigers also have one of the deepest blue lines in the WHL. Tyler Lewington, Ty Stanton, Tommy Vanelli, Matt Staples, Kyle Becker, Ty Schultz, David Quenneville, and Kyle Burroughs make up the eight d-men currently on the Tigers roster.