Lethbridge Hurricanes (20-38-5-3) vs. Kootenay Ice (34-29-1-3)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes concluded a stretch of games that saw them play nine games in nine different cities with a Tuesday night contest in Cranbrook against the Kootenay Ice in hopes of picking up their 21st win of the season, but fell short to the Ice dropping a 4-1 decision at Western Financial Place.
Stuart Skinner, who faced 101 shots stopping 96 of them in the last two games in Prince Albert and Saskatoon, received a much needed night off as Jayden Sittler got the start against one of his former teams.
Kootenay entered the game having only scored once in their previous two games but they exploded for two in the first period. Just 1:17 into the game Jaedon Descheneau hit the Ice leading scorer Luke Philp with a pass who beat Sittler on the first shot of the game to make it 1-0 Kootenay. Both teams had chances with the extra man but failed to capitalize. A fight with under a minute left between Devan Fafard and Jon Martin saw Martin pick up a double minor for roughing, but it was a broken play in the Lethbridge zone that saw Mike Winther fall and give up the puck resulting in a two-on-nothing that saw Austin Vetterl tap in a goal to make it 2-0 with just 11 seconds left in the period. Kootenay out shot Lethbridge 8-5 in the first period.
The Hurricanes started the second period with 3:12 seconds remaining in the double-minor for roughing to Martin, but not long after the period started Kord Pankewicz took a hooking penalty that took the ‘Canes off the power play and the ‘Canes didn’t get anything going after that on the remaining time of the man advantage. Both teams had some quality chances in the period, but both Sittler and Wyatt Hoflin stood tall. The best chance of the period came in the dying seconds for Kootenay on a two-on-one. Descheneau passed one off to Vetterl who one-timed it to the goal, Sittler slid across to absolutely rob the Ice sniper with a stack-the-pad, glove save to keep it 2-0 after two periods. Shots favoured the Ice 18-10.
Jayden Sittler picked up where he left off absolutely robbing Sam Reinhart on a two-on-nothing ripping the puck off the goal line. However, moments after the save on Reinhart, Descheneau scored his 30th of the year to make it 3-0. The Hurricanes would finally solve Hoflin to break the shut out bid with just 1:04 left in the game as Jamal Watson found Giorgio Estephan who slipped it through the Ice netminder for his 21st of the season. Kootenay’s Tim Bozon iced the game making it 4-1 with a power play empty net goal with 12 seconds left in the game sending the Ice to a 4-1 win.
The Ice out shot the Hurricanes 20-12 in the third period and 46-27 overall. The ‘Canes went 0/4 on the power play, the Ice went 1/4.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Ice – #30 Wyatt Hoflin – (26 saves)
2) ‘Canes – #33 Jayden Sittler – (42 saves)
3) Ice – #12 Luke Philp – (1 goal, 1 assist)
The Hurricanes return home Friday to host the Edmonton Oil Kings before welcoming the Calgary on Saturday and then concluding the weekend in Calgary on Sunday afternoon.