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.