Lethbridge Hurricanes (10-26-3-3) vs. Brandon Wheat Kings (32-9-3-1)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes battled back to tie the game after three early goals by the Brandon Wheat Kings, but the ‘Canes could not out slug the highest scoring team in the WHL as the Wheat Kings went on to a 8-5 win.
The Hurricanes were without Captain Jamal Watson who was sidelined after leaving Tuesday’s game early with an upper body injury. Tyler Wong wore the “C” in place of Watson. Giorgio Estephan wore the extra “A”. Brett Davis made his WHL debut as he was called up from the Eastman Selects of the Manitoba Midget AAA league.
After honouring rookie standout Ivan Provorov for his silver medal win at the World Juniors with Russia, it didn’t take long for the Wheat Kings to jump out to a lead as the home town team saw Braylon Shmyr score just 1:03 into the game – Eric Roy and Tim McGauley picked up the assists. Peter Quenneville scored his first of two in the period at the 9:15 mark jumping on a Reid Duke rebound to make it 2-0. Just over three minutes later, Quenneville scored his second of the night blasting one by Stuart Skinner after Scott Allan threw one up the ice and it was picked off quickly leading to the goal. The ‘Canes did get on the board as Andrew Nielsen scored his fourth of the season with 5:02 left in the opening frame. Shots favoured Brandon 20-8 in the first.
In the second, Provorov and Christ Waltz each took delay of game penalties for shooting the puck over the glass just eight seconds apart resulting in a power play goal for Giorgio Estephan as he extended his point scoring streak to four games – Kord Pankewicz picked up an assist in his return to Brandon, Nielsen earned the second helper. That made it 3-2, and ten minutes later Ryley Lindgren scored his first as a ‘Cane against his former team to tie the game 3-3 – Mike Winther earned his first point in a Lethbridge uniform, Johnny Wesley had the second assist. However, it was the McGauley show later in the period as the leading scorer for the Wheaties scored twice in a three minute span adding his 26th and 27th of the season to give Brandon a 5-3 lead after forty minutes of play.
The Wheat Kings started the third period with over five minutes of consecutive power play time but were unable to find the back of the net despite firing 10 shots on Skinner in the first five and change. Brandon did score as Reid Duke beat Skinner to the glove side making it 6-3. Morgan Klimchuk added his first of two in the third period, and 100th WHL goal making it a 7-3 game with just under ten minutes left. After a penalty to Nielsen at the 12:17 mark, the Hurricanes replaced Skinner with Jayden Sittler who’d mop up the rest of the way. The Hurricanes made things interesting scoring a couple of goals, one at 15:02 by Wong before a power play goal by Mike Winther to make it 7-5. But a turn over by Brayden Burke in the final minute saw Klimchuk ice it with his second of the night making it an 8-5 final.
The Wheat Kings out shot the Hurricanes 21-5 in the third period, and 57-21 overall.
The ‘Canes did however win the special teams battle going 2/4 on the man advantage, while keeping the second best power play in the WHL at bay as Brandon went 0/6.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Wheat Kings – #23 Tim McGauley – (2 goals, 3 assists)
2) Wheat Kings – #15 Peter Quenneville – (2 goals)
3) Wheat Kings – #27 Reid Duke – (1 goal, 2 assist)
The Hurricanes are now 10-26-3-3 on the season have lost three straight, and four overall. The ‘Canes are next in action tomorrow night when they visit the Moose Jaw Warriors to wrap up the two-game road trip.