What a Start!

Wong-RocketsWOW! That’s all about you can say about the start to the season that the Lethbridge Hurricanes have had. Through seven games, the ‘Canes have posted a record of 5-2-0-0. It’s the first time since 2008-2009 that the team has had five wins in the first seven games! Seven years! And perhaps it’s coincidental that that was the last Hurricanes team to make the playoffs.

Sure, it’s far too soon to be talking about the post-season as the team still has 65 games to play, but it’s hard not to let your mind wander about the possibility – especially considering the lengthy playoff drought. If the Hurricanes beat the Broncos on Saturday, it will have been the best start to a season through eight games that they’ve seen since 2001-2002.

Not only is the team winning hockey games, but they are doing it with a whole lot of excitement. As Peter Loubardias said after the game Wednesday on the SHAW broadcast, “6-4, entertainment galore.” The second half of that comment speaks completely true to the edition of the Hurricanes we’ve seen so far – entertainment.

This team is playing an up-tempo style of hockey that any hockey fan would love to watch their team play with. Scoring goals, stretch passes, breakaways, great saves, big hits…. Pretty much every facet of the entertainment factor has been checked off the list early in this season for the ‘Canes.

At 5-2-0-0, the Hurricanes sit second place in the Central Division heading into the weekend with 10 points – the same amount of wins and points as the Red Deer Rebels, but the ‘Canes have played two less games and will be three less games by the time the ‘Canes get up Saturday for their next game.

A few other feel goods for the Hurricanes are:

1) The win against the Rebels back a week and a half ago has sent Red Deer into a tail spin. The Rebels had won four straight going into that game, they’ve posted a 1-4-0-0- record since that game.

2) Again, albeit early, through seven games the Hurricanes have the same amount of points and one more win than the hated Brandon Wheat Kings.

3) The Hurricanes have scored the fourth most goals in the WHL thus far having potted 34 through seven games – an average of 4.86 goals per game. And they’re preventing goals having given up 19 in the seven games, an average of just 2.71 goals against per game.

4) The Hurricanes have the third best power play in the WHL converting at 28.6%. They’ve scored 12 man advantage goals already – they only had 42 all of last season.

5) The Hurricanes have won three straight games and have scored 18 goals in that span. They have scored at least five goals in each of their five games outscoring the opposition 28-8 (5.60 to 1.60 on average) in their five victories.

The team is excelling as a TEAM. But not only that, the individual success can’t go unnoticed and really goes hand-in-hand with TEAM success.

Heading into Friday’s WHL action, the idle Hurricanes, boast multiple league-leaders in multiple categories:

  • Tyler Wong leads the WHL in goals (11)
  • Tyler Wong leads the WHL in shorthanded goals (3)
  • Tyler Wong leads the WHL in game-winning goals (2)
  • Tyler Wong leads the WHL in insurance goals (2)
  • Tyler Wong, Andrew Nielsen and Ryley Lindgren are all tied for first in WHL power play goals (3)
  • Tyler Wong is 3rd in the WHL in plus-minus (+10)
  • Brayden Burke leads the WHL in points (16)
  • Brayden Burke leads the WHL in assists (14)
  • Brayden Burke leads the WHL in power play assists (9)
  • Brayden Burke is tied for 4th in WHL plus-minus (+8)
  • Ryley Lindgren is tied for 2nd in the WHL in first goals (2)
  • Giorgio Estephan is 2nd in the WHL in power play assists (6)
  • Jayden Sittler is 4th in the WHL in goals against average (1.24) — second if you consider goalies who have played more than one game
  • Jayden Sittler is 4th in the WHL in save percentage (.953) — second if you consider goalies who have played more than one game.

Heading into Saturday’s game in Swift Current, the Hurricanes boast nine players who will enter with points in at least two straight games and five players at, or above, a point per game. Wong enters having put forth five straight multiple-point games including a four game goal scoring streak; he also has four multi-goal games this season already. Brayden Burke enters having racked up six straight games with two or more points. While Giorgio Estephan has put together three straight multi-point games.

The Hurricanes are off to their best start in seven seasons, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the eyes around the WHL. Sportsnet conducted a coaches poll and the Hurricanes were voted as the team most likely to surprise – 33% of WHL coaches voted that – certainly, it’s been a surprise early.

It has been an amazing early season run for the Hurricanes, and let me tell you. If I wasn’t a team employee, as a hockey fan, I would be buying myself in to watch this team because you won’t see much better hockey in the WHL than what the Lethbridge Hurricanes have been showing through a tenth of the season.

Lets just hope the team continues to roll and the #CaneTrain is chugging along nicely right now!

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