Lethbridge Hurricanes (9-23-3-2) vs. Edmonton Oil Kings (18-16-3-2)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked of 2015 with a loss at Rexall Place as the Edmonton Oil Kings won their second straight with a 3-2 win extending the Hurricanes losing streak to three consecutive games.
Two goals in the final twenty minutes helped Edmonton to the win. It was a true battle of the goalies as Stuart Skinner and Patrick Dea went tit for tat all game long. Dea stopped 25 of 27 shots he faced while Skinner stopped 40 of 43.
Both teams had depleted line ups as Tyler Wong, Giorgio Estephan and Kade Jensen were all missing from the Hurricanes line up. While Edgars Kulda, Cole Benson, Mads Eller, among others were missing for Edmonton. Ryan Vandervlis appeared in his first game as an affiliate since before re-assigned to midget after playing in the season opener for the Hurricanes.
Oil Kings struck first early just 2:12 into the game as Nick Walters coughed up a puck on a fanned pass in the slot before Brayden Brown took advantage burying one by Skinner making it 1-0 early. The Hurricanes did a good job staving off the early push by the Kings who came hard in the first ten minutes. The ‘Canes stuck with the game plan and eventually got rewarded. Jaeger White, who centered the top line between Taylor Cooper and Jamal Watson in the absence of Wong, centered a puck to Cooper who banked one by Dea to equalize the game at 1-1. For both Cooper and White, they are on six game point scoring streaks. Late in the period, Edmonton has a great chance to pull ahead as Tyler Robertson was slashed while on a shorthanded breakaway resulting in a penalty shot, but Skinner came up large on stopping Robertson penalty shot bid keeping it tied. Oil Kings had the edge in shots 19-10 on the opening period.
It was a spirited second period that saw a parade to the penalty box. After a whistle at the 3:31 mark Jamal Watson dropped the mitts with Lane Bauer as the captain got some pretty good shots in. More rough stuff happened when Andrew Nielsen stepped up on Andrew Koep with a monstrous open ice hit. Nielsen was assessed a five minute major for checking to the head and a game misconduct while Koep left and did not return to the game. On the tail end of the five minute power play, Edmonton though they had scored but the goal was disallowed as it was kicked in by Brown, keeping it 1-1 after forty minutes of play. Shots favoured Edmonton 13-12 in the second.
In the third, more rough stuff occurred with both teams having opportunities on the power play, but the teams were unable to pot one until Aaron Irving stunned everyone on the building harmlessly throwing one to the goal from the right wing boards that snuck by Skinner making it 2-1 with just over ten minutes left in the game. Edmonton added another 6:31 later as Brett Pollock found a bouncing puck on the slot that he golfed towards the goal and went off a ‘Cane defender passed Skinner to make it 3-1. Hurricanes pulled the goalie for the extra attacker and with 33.1 seconds left Kord Pankewicz continued his red hot play jamming one by Dea to make it 3-2, but that’s as close as they’d come to tying it as that was the final score.
The Oil Kings out shot the Hurricanes 11-5 in the third period and 43-27 overall.
The ‘Canes went 0/6 on the power play, while the Oil Kings went 0/7 with the extra man. In the three games thus far in the season series, the two teams combined are a shocking 0/28 on the power play (Lethbridge 0/16, Edmonton 0/12).
Three stars of the game were:
1) Oil Kings – #1 Patrick Dea – (25 saves)
2) Oil Kings – #9 Brayden Brown – (1 goal)
3) ‘Canes – #74 Stuart Skinner – (40 saves)
The ‘Canes have now lost three straight games and sit with a record of 9-23-3-2 on the season. They will kick off a four game home stand Saturday when the host the Red Deer Rebels at the ENMAX Centre, game time is 7pm.