Lethbridge Hurricanes (12-5-0-0) vs. Kootenay Ice (4-13-2-0)
It took a while but the Lethbridge Hurricanes chipped away at the Ice before tying and eventually winning the game late as the ‘Canes defeated Kootenay 3-2 on Saturday in front of nearly 3,500 fans at the ENMAX Centre.
The Hurricanes trailed 2-1 heading into the third period but goals by Andrew Nielsen to tie the game and the Ryley Lindgren with 33 seconds left to win the game helped the Hurricanes to their second win in a row. It was the fourth game-winning goal for Lindgren – second in the entire WHL.
It was a first period to forget for the Hurricanes, who despite not playing their best, escaped unscathed as the teams skated to a scoreless tie after twenty minutes. Despite it not being their best period, and being outshot 14-9 in the first, the ‘Canes had some good chances included a pair of goal posts by Cory Millette and Giorgio Estephan. Jayden Sittler was rock solid for the ‘Canes keeping it scoreless after one period.
In the second, the ‘Canes jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Ryan Vandervlis scored his first goal of the season at the 2:22 mark – Justin Gutierrez and Egor Babenko picked up the assists to make it 1-0. The Ice tied the game at 10:03 as Roman Dymacek had a long-range shot deflect of a stick and passed Sittler to make it 1-1. Kootenay took the lead as Austin Wellsby scored on a penalty shot with just 5:41 left in the second period as the Ice led 2-1 after 40 minutes.
The Hurricanes outshot the Ice 13-7 in the third period and pressured Kootenay for a game-tying goal for the majority of the period. Eventually the ‘Canes got rewarded as Andrew Nielsen scored his seventh of the season on a point shot that found its way passed Declan Hobbs to tie the game 2-2 with 6:06 left in regulation – Giorgio earned his 99th career point with an assist on the play. The Hurricanes continued to press and Lindgren played hero with a wrist shot from the slot that went post-and-in to beat Hobbs for the game winner with just 33 seconds left in the game – Nielsen and Cory Millette picked up the assists.
The Hurricanes outshot the Ice 32-29 on the night. Lethbridge went 0/5 on the power play but were a perfect 2/2 on the penalty kill.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #9 Giorgio Estephan – (1 assist)
2) Ice – #1 Declan Hobbs – (29 saves)
3) ‘Canes – #6 Andrew Nielsen – (1 goal, 1 assist)
It was the sixth consecutive home victory for the Hurricanes who now have a 7-1-0-0 record at the ENMAX Centre – second most home victories in the entire WHL. The ‘Canes sit with a record of 12-5-0-0 on the season and sit second place in the Central Division just two points behind the Red Deer Rebels, with two games in hand.
The Hurricanes head back out on the road for a three-in-three weekend when they visit Moose Jaw, Brandon and Regina in consecutive days before returning home the following Wednesday to kick off a span of eight out of nine games at home against the Everett Silvertips.