Lethbridge Hurricanes (18-9-0-0) vs. Calgary Hitmen (16-11-1-1)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes returned home to kick off a brief three-game home stand on Wednesday as they hosted the Calgary Hitmen in the marquee game on the night in the WHL with second place in the Central Division on the line and the ‘Canes picked up a wild 6-4 victory at the ENMAX Centre.
Both teams entered with 34 points on the season, tied for second in the Central Division, with the winner taking sole possession of second in the Central. The win for the Hurricanes improved their record to 18-9-0-0 on the season and 12-2-0-0 at home.
Carter Folk got things rolling for the ‘Canes at the 13:54 mark of the first period as he scored his fourth of the season to make it 1-0 after Travis Sanheim broke his stick on a shot and Andrew Nielsen sprung Folk before he opened the scoring. However, two goals 17 seconds apart by Keegan Kanzig and Pavel Karnaukhov helped Calgary to a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes of play. Hitmen outshot the ‘Canes 15-10 in the first.
It was a wild second period the saw the ‘Canes tie the game just 57 seconds into the second period as Cory Millette scored his 12th of the season to make it 2-2. The ‘Canes re-took the lead as Tyler Wong scored his first of two in the game at the 10:17 mark to make it 3-2. Egor Babenko made it 4-2 with a power play goal with his 14th of the season; 10 of his 14 goals this season have come at home. But, before the period was out Hitmen struck twice again just 32 seconds apart as Tyler Mrkonjic beat Jayden Sittler between the legs to make it 4-3. Sittler was replaced by Stuart Skinner and Calgary capitalized scoring the tying goal to make it 4-4 going to the second break.
The spirit continued into the third period as the two teams continued to battle in a tie game. Both teams had chances including Folk hitting a goal post. Wong scored a go-ahead goal for his 20th marker of the season with 9:45 gone in the third period to give the ‘Canes a 5-4 lead. The reigning WHL Player of the Week, Justin Gutierrez, continued his hot-hand as he scored his 12th of the season and seventh in four games to give the ‘Canes a 6-4 lead with just 1:35 left in the game as the ‘Canes went on to the victory.
The ‘Canes were outshot 36-30 in the game. It was just the second time all season the Hitmen outshot the opposition and lost. The ‘Canes went 2/5 on the power play and 5/5 on the penalty kill.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – (2 goals, including game-winner)
2) ‘Canes – #10 Cory Millette – (1 goal)
3) Hitmen – #12 Mark Kastelic – (1 goal, 1 assist)
The win for the Hurricanes is their fifth straight victory and fourth straight at home. The Hurricanes are now a perfect 14-0-0-0 when scoring four or more goals in a game.
The ‘Canes are back in action Friday when they welcome the Prince Albert Raiders at 7:00pm at the ENMAX Centre before hosting the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday for the 20th Annual Canadian Tire Teddy and Toque Toss.