Lethbridge Hurricanes (10-24-3-3) vs. Calgary Hitmen (23-15-1-3)
Following a flurry of activity leading up to the WHL trade deadline on Saturday, the Lethbridge Hurricanes played host to the Calgary Hitmen at the ENMAX Centre on Saturday night in hopes of winning their second straight games, but a five goal second period for Calgary paced them to a 5-3 win.
The Hurricanes saw Jayden Sittler make his second straight start in the game after Stuart Skinner was sidelined with the flu. Mike Winther, who was acquired from the Kamloops Blazers on Friday night following the Hurricanes win over Saskatoon made his ‘Canes debut wearing #21.
The Hurricanes played a strong first period as they traded chances with the Hitmen early on but both Sittler and Brendan Burke were solid in goal in the early going. The Hurricanes opened the scoring as Giorgio Estephan head-manned the puck on the right wing resulting on a two-on-one with Brayden Burke and Tyler Wong. Burke, who looked pass the whole way, held onto the puck and out-waited the Calgary goaltender before shelfing one in for his first career WHL goal at the 11:34 mark. The ‘Canes added another on a power play with just 6.9 seconds left in the period as Burke managed to slide home his second of the period making it 2-0 Lethbridge after one period. Calgary held the shot advantage 14-9 in the first.
In the second, Calgary took over the game scoring five goals in the first 9:21 of the period. Early on, just 1:14 into the middle frame Adam Tambellini beat Sittler to cut the lead in half. A minute and a half later, a Pavel Skumatov give away to Pavel Karnaukhov saw the Calgary rookie break in alone beating Sittler five-hole to tie the game; for Karnaukhov it was his 16th goal of the year – eight of them have come against the Hurricanes. Calgary scored two more in quick succession as Layne Bensmiller and Jake Bean scored to give the Hitmen a 4-2 lead. Tambellini added his second of the period to make it 5-2, and that would be how the score would look after forty minutes of play. The ‘Canes were outshot 12-2 in the second.
Calgary continued to control in the third outshooting the ‘Canes 13-4, but the only goal of the game came from Estephan as he snapped one by Brendan Burke to make it 5-3. Brayden Burke and Tyler Wong picked up the helpers.
The Hurricanes were outshot 42-16 on the night, and 25-6 in the final two periods. Lethbridge went 1/2 on the power play, Calgary went 1/3.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Hitmen – #19 Adam Tambellini – (2 goals, 1 assist)
2) ‘Canes – #19 Brayden Burke – (2 goals, 1 assist, including first WHL goal)
3) Hitmen – #32 Travis Sanheim – (1 assist)
The Hurricanes will be back in action on Tuesday night when they wrap up a season-long four game home stand as they welcome the Red Deer Rebels at the ENMAX Centre, game time is 7pm.