Lethbidge Hurricanes (11-28-3-3) vs. Prince George Cougars (20-28-1-1)
A seven-goal outburst for the Lethbridge Hurricanes Saturday night in front of nearly 3,000 fans at the ENMAX Centre saw them snap a five game losing streak upending the Prince George Cougars by a 7-4 count.
The Hurricanes were without three major contributors as Nick Walters missed his first game of the season with a lower body injury; Carter Folk was out with an upper body injury suffered Friday night while Jamal Watson missed his fourth straight game with an upper body injury of his own.
The Hurricanes started the first period with some jump, something they didn’t have in the first against the Giants. The ‘Canes opened the scoring just 3:50 into the game as Tyler Wong centered to Giorgio Estephan on a two-on-none chance and Estephan made no mistake beating Ty Edmonds for his ninth of the season – the goal for the 17-year-old set a new career high in points. A power play goal by Josh Connolly at the 9:22 mark equalized the game at 1-1. However, a power play goal for the Hurricanes’ Andrew Nielsen with 2:45 left in the period as the ‘Canes skated out of the first with a one goal advantage. Shots favoured Lethbridge 11-10 in the first period.
The second period saw the Hurricanes second line take control of the game as Florian Baltram, Ryley Lindgren and Mike Winther combined for three goals and eight points in the period. Despite the strong period for that trio, it was Prince George that scored first as Jansen Harkins beat Jayden Sittler 39 seconds into the period high to the blocker to make it 2-2. Lethbridge retook the lead as Baltram scored his first of two in the period 3:30 into the frame. Harkins scored against just under three minutes later again tying the game, this time 3-3. Mike Winther scored his second as a ‘Cane on a quick release at the 10:13 mark to chase Ty Edmonds who gave up four goals on 17 shots. Baltram added his second on a one-timer in front at the 15:07 mark – Winther and Lindgren picked up the helpers as the ‘Canes led 5-3 after forty minutes. PG held the edge in shots 18-14 in the period.
In the third, the Cougars made things interesting as Jared Bethune swatted one by Sittler to cut the ‘Canes lead to 5-4 just 1:04 into the period. The ‘Canes restored their two-goal lead less than two minutes later as Kord Pankewicz scored his fifth of the season on a bouncing puck to make it 6-4. The prettiest goal of the night was the last goal as Estephan, Burke and Wong all got a touch before Wong tucked home his team-leading 19th of the season to make it 7-4 and that would be the final.
Hurricanes were under siege in the third as the Cougars had 28 shots in the final frame collecting 56 on the night as Sittler stopped 52 shots. Hurricanes had 32 shots in the contest.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #29 Florian Baltram – (2 goals, 1 assist – first goal as a ‘Cane)
2) ‘Canes – #16 Ryley Lindgren – (3 assists)
3) Cougars – #12 Jansen Harkins – (2 goals)
Five players had multi-point nights for the Hurricanes: Baltram (2g-1a), Estephan (1g-2a), Burke (3a), Wong (1g-1a) and Winther (1g-1a). The ‘Canes snap a five-game losing streak and extend the Cougars to nine consecutive losses.
The top two lines were outstanding for the Hurricanes in this game. The first line of Wong, Estephan and Burke combined for two goals and eight points while the second line of Baltram, Lindgren and Winther combined for three goals and eight points.
The Hurricanes pick up their 11th win of the season, just one shy of the total they had last season. The ‘Canes are also now just one point shy of last seasons total as they are now up to 28 on the year.
The ‘Canes are next in action Tuesday as they visit the Central leading Medicine Hat Tigers at 7pm before returning home for a Wednesday night affair at the ENMAX Centre with Lenny Hackman and the Kootenay Ice.