‘Canes Fall in OT to T-birds

Lethbridge Hurricanes     vs.     tbirds

Lethbridge Hurricanes (18-33-4-3)     vs.     Seattle Thunderbirds (30-21-3-4)

The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked off a three-in-three weekend Friday night with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds at ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington.

The Hurricanes played a pretty up-tempo type of game and held the lead three separate times only to see the Thunderbirds claw back and tie the game every time within five minutes of a ‘Canes goal before Jerret Smith scored a power play goal just 58 seconds into overtime for the victory.

The first period saw the high tempo that carried throughout the entire game. Seattle was buzzing early, but Stuart Skinner stood tall keeping the game scoreless in the first ten minutes. The ‘Canes picked up a power play mid-way through the period and made good as Johnny Wesley banged home a rebound to open the scoring making it 1-0 – Jamal Watson and Mike Winther picked up the assists. Just under five minutes later, however, the T-birds tied the game as Nick Holowko tipped home a Smith shot to equalize the game at 1-1. Shots favoured the Thunderbirds 15-11 in the first period.

Early in the second period, the ‘Canes took their second lead of the game as Watson found Kord Pankewicz stepping up from the blue line and hit him with a pass. Pankewicz got around one man and head-faked Taran Kozun before sliding the puck into the net to make it 2-1 ‘Canes just 2:05 into the second – Winther drew the second assist. Seattle tied the game just over four minutes later as Shea Theodore beat Skinner on a slapshot to tie the game with a power play goal making it 2-2. Seattle out shot Lethbridge 13-4 in the second period.

It was the same story in the third period. ‘Canes took an early lead on a flukey shorthanded goal by Jamal Watson. Watson sped after a loose puck that would have resulted in a shorthanded breakaway but T-birds goalie Kozun came charging out and dove to knock the puck away only to see the puck deflect straight up in the air and fall into the empty net to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead, and their third lead of the night. However, it only lasted 24 seconds as Mathew Barzal picked up his third assist of the night finding Cory Millette alone in front of the net who backhanded one by Skinner to draw the game even at 3-3. The Hurricanes had a late power play, but Evan Wardley and Winther got after each other that eventually saw Winther nailed with a five-minute major and a game misconduct for spearing. T-birds had multiple chances to get the go ahead goal, but it stayed tied and went to overtime.

It didn’t take long in OT for Seattle to win it. A puck battled along the half wall saw all three Hurricanes come to the puck leaving Jerret Smith alone in front. Millette centered and Smith made no mistake lifting one over the glove of Skinner for the winner just 58 seconds into the extra frame to secure a 4-3 overtime win for the Thunderbirds.

The T-birds out shot the Hurricanes 38-23 on the night. ‘Canes went 1/3 on the power play, while the Thunderbirds were an impressive 3/5 against the league’s third best road penalty kill.

Three stars of the game were:

1) T-birds – #13 Mathew Barzal – (4 assists)
2) ‘Canes – #74 Stuart Skinner – (34 saves)
3) T-birds – #20 Cory Millette – (1 goal, 2 assists)

The Hurricanes are now 6-2-1-0 in February and picked up a crucial single point in the loss. The ‘Canes travel to take on the Portland Winterhawks Saturday night at 8pm MT before a Sunday contest against the Everett Silvertips.

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