Lethbridge Hurricanes (20-10-0-0) vs. Brandon Wheat Kings (18-10-1-2)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked off a six game pre-Christmas with a 5-3 win in Brandon against the Wheat Kings.
Three point nights by Tyler Wong and Brayden Burke and a pair of goals from Giorgio Estephan helped the ‘Canes to the victory. Stuart Skinner made 40 saves for his 11th win of the season.
It was a good road start for the Hurricanes who had some early pressure and some good looks to open the scoring but couldn’t solve Jordan Papirny. Skinner made his best stop roughly eight minutes into the game robbing Nolan Patrick point blank with a diving glove save. Brandon did, however, open the scoring as Tyler Coulter lifted a rebound over Skinner to make it 1-0 10:52 into the game – Patrick picked up an assist on the play. The ‘Canes were outshot 13-10 in the first and trailed 1-0 after twenty minutes of play.
The ‘Canes came out flying in the second period scoring three goals in a span of 2:31. Burke tied the game with a power play goal at the 6:14 mark – Wong and Ryley Lindgren pick up the assists. Just 1:01 later, Wong broke away on a two-on-one short handed and lifted a perfect saucer pass across to Estephan who beat Papirny sliding across to give the ‘Canes a 2-1 lead. A minute and thirty seconds later the ‘Canes struck again as Justin Gutierrez, who was serving a penalty when Estephan scored the shorty, returned to the ice and received a pass and dropped it to Wong who sniped home his team-leading 21st of the season to make it 3-1. The Wheat Kings cut the lead to one when Connor Gutenberg beat Skinner with 6:30 left in the second as the Hurricanes led 3-2 after two periods. Brandon outshot Lethbridge 16-12 in the second period.
The Hurricanes added to their just 7:58 into the third as Estephan scored his second of the night and 11th of the year on a bullet from the top of the right circle on a power play to make it 4-2 – Burke and Andrew Nielsen had the assists on the play. The Wheaties once again cut the lead to one as Braylon Shmyr tipped home fourth at the 10:37 mark but just 52 seconds later Egor Babenko re-directed home his 15th to restore the ‘Canes two-goal lead. Brandon had a late power play and pulled the goalie but the Hurricanes steered home the 5-3 win.
Shots on goal in the third period favoured Brandon 14-12 and 43-34 overall. The ‘Canes went 2/2 on the power play and 5/5 on the penalty kill.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – (1 goal, 2 assists
2) Wheat Kings – #21 Tyler Coulter – (1 goal)
3) ‘Canes – #9 Giorgio Estephan – (2 goals, including game winner)
The win for the Hurricanes was their first victory in Brandon since November 9th, 2012.
The victory improves the ‘Canes road record to 7-7-0-0 and 20-10-0-0 overall. The ‘Canes have already matched their entire win total from the 2014-2015 campaign.
The Hurricanes are back in action on Saturday night when they face the Regina Pats at the Brandt Centre at 6:00pm mountain time.