Lethbridge Hurricanes (20-40-5-3) vs. Calgary Hitmen (41-22-1-4)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes played the second of a three-game weekend on Saturday night as they welcomed the Calgary Hitmen at the ENMAX Centre in the first of a back-to-back, home-and-home with Calgary and it was the Hitmen who took the first leg 4-2.
Both teams entered on three game losing streaks after Lethbridge dropped a 5-2 decision to the Edmonton Oil Kings at home while Calgary lost dropped a 3-2 game in Red Deer. It was a battle of two teams having done a lot of travel in the last three weeks with the Hurricanes logging over 6,600 kilometres while the Hitmen rolled over 4,500 kilometres as Calgary wrapped up an 11-game road trip on Saturday.
It was an air tight first period for the Hurricanes. The ‘Canes kept the Hitmen at bay for most of the period holding them without a shot until the last minute. Calgary didn’t have a a shot on Jayden Sittler until the 19:28 mark of the first period. Neither team managed any goals in the first despite each having one power play opportunity. ‘Canes out shot the Hitmen 7-3.
Calgary opened things up early in the second period. Hitmen opened the scoring just 4:37 into the period as Connor Rankin beat Sittler high to the blocker on a power play to make it 1-0 Hitmen. Under three minutes later, Calgary struck again as Chase Lang snapped one in to make it 2-0 Hitmen. Calgary made it 3-0 when Elliott Peterson capped off a three-way passing play at the 11:08 mark. ‘Canes cut into the lead as Ryley Lindgren tipped home his sixth goal of the season on the power play at the 12:58 mark – Kord Pankewicz and Andrew Nielsen picked up the assists. Shots favoured the Hitmen 12-9 in the second period.
The Hurricanes started the third period with 52 seconds on a power play, they failed to score on the man advantage, but just seven seconds after it expired, Mike Winther snapped one home for his 14th goal of the year to make it a one goal game just 59 seconds into the period – Jamal Watson and Lindgren picked up the helpers. Calgary would get a mid-period power play and while they didn’t score on the man advantage just seconds after Keegan Kanzig jammed one by Sittler to make it 4-2 Hitmen, and that would be the final.
Shots in the third period favoured Calgary 8-6, and 23-22 overall. Hurricanes went 1/4 on the power play while the Hitmen went 1/3.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #16 Ryley Lindgren – (1 goal, 1assist)
2) Hitmen – #18 Jake Virtanen – (2 assists)
3) Hitmen – #32 Travis Sanheim – (1 assist)
The Hurricanes and Hitmen will do things over less than 24 hours later as Lethbridge travels to face Calgary tomorrow at 4pm at the Scotiabank Saddledome tomorrow afternoon.