Lethbridge Hurricanes (10-4-0-0) vs. Kelowna Rockets (10-5-0-0)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes put up a strong effort battling from a three goal deficit to tie the game, but the Kelowna Rockets staved off the ‘Canes to skate to a 5-3 victory Saturday night handing Lethbridge their second straight loss.
The ‘Canes trailed the game 3-0 but a pair of goals by Cory Millette and one by Andrew Nielsen saw them come back to tie the game before Dillon Dube scored the eventual game winner just 1:57 after the ‘Canes tied the game. Jayden Sittler made 20 saves in the loss for just his second defeat of the season.
Kelowna opened the scoring just the 10:57 mark as Nick Merkley outskated Kord Pankewicz for a loose puck and beat Sittler five-hole to make it 1-0 Rockets. They added to their lead just 34 seconds later as Cole Linaker jammed a rebound home off a Merkley shot to make it 2-0 after one period. Hurricanes were outshot 9-5 in the first period.
The Rockets started the second period with a power play and made good on it as Rodney Southam snapped one by Sittler to make it 3-0 just 37 seconds into the middle frame. The Hurricanes got on the board as Millette scored his third of the season, and first of two in the game, on a breakaway as he made a nice move to the back-hand to make it 3-1 with just 5:58 gone in the period – Carter Folk got the lone assist on the play. Hurricanes were outshot 10-8 in the second and trailed by two after forty minutes of play.
In the third, the ‘Canes came out flying scoring an early goal at the 3:17 mark as Millette banked one off Rockets goal Michael Herringer and in from behind the goal line to cut the lead to one – Ryley Lindgren and Brandon Kennedy earned the helpers on the play. Then, with a power play Andrew Nielsen beat Herringer with a bullet to tie the game at 3-3 – Giorgio Estephan and Brayden Burke had the assists. However, the tie was short-lived as just 1:57 later Dube beat Sittler with a shot from the left wall to restore the Kelowna lead before Tyson Baillie added an empty net goal with just 51 seconds left to seal the 5-3 win.
The Hurricanes outshot the Rockets 14-6 in the third period and 27-25 overall. The ‘Canes went 1/5 on the power play while the Rockets went 1/3.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Rockets – #10 Nick Merkley – (1 goal, 1 assist)
2) Rockets – #19 Dillon Dube – (1 goal, 2 assists – including game-winner)
3) ‘Canes – #10 Cory Millette – (2 goals)
The Hurricanes have now lost consecutive games for the first time all season and fall to 10-4-0-0 on the year and 3-2-0-0 on their current six-game road trip. The ‘Canes will wrap up the trip on Monday when they pay their only visit to Prince George to face the Cougars.