Lethbridge Hurricanes (22-11-0-0) vs. Saskatoon Blades (11-17-3-0)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes reach the half way point of their six game pre-Christmas road trip on Wednesday night as they made their first of two visits to Saskatoon to face the Blades and the ‘Canes picked up a 7-4 win to improve to 3-1-0-0 on the road trip.
Justin Gutierrez continued his hot hand extending his point scoring streak to five games while Egor Babenko and Brayden Burke also extended their streaks to five games as the three combined for eight points. Jayden Sittler made 21 saves in the victory for his 10th win of the season.
The first period didn’t start well for the ‘Canes as Cameron Hebig beat Jayden Sittler with a wraparound goal to make it 1-0 just 1:12 into the hockey game. Hurricanes equalized as Babenko scored his 18th goal of the season just 2:30 later – Gutierrez and Burke drawing the assists on the play. A power play goal by former Hurricane Bryton Sayers, his first as a Blade, gave Saskatoon their second lead of the period making it 2-1 but two goals 51 seconds apart by the ‘Canes gave them a 3-2 lead. Gutierrez beat Blades’ starting goalie Brock Hamm from long range to tie the game before Cory Millette scored his 15th of the season to make it 3-2; Hamm was replaced by newly acquired Evan Smith for the Blades. Despite the slow start, the Hurricanes led by one after twenty minutes outshooting the Blades 14-9 in the first period.
The Hurricanes added a pair in the second period. First Carter Folk scored his fifth of the season as he was set up in front by Millette to make it 4-2 – the assist for Millette was his 150th point in the WHL. The ‘Canes added to their lead as Burke scored his ninth of the year as Babenko found him back door and Burke made no mistake beating Evan Smith, who replaced Hamm in net, to make it 5-2 – Gutierrez added the other assist as the ‘Canes led 5-2 after two periods. Lethbridge outshot Saskatoon 11-7 in the second period.
The teams traded a pair of goals in the third period. Saskatoon scored at the 4:07 mark of the period on a power play as Josh Paterson redirected a Wyatt Sloboshan point shot through the legs of Sittler to make it 5-3. The ‘Canes however answered back just over four minutes later as Ryley Lindgren potted his 14th of the year – assists went to Andrew Nielsen and Giorgio Estephan. Connor Gay scored his 10th of the year with 9:53 left to cut the lead to 6-4 but an empty net goal by Nielsen with just 1:07 left in the game sealed the victory for the ‘Canes as they went on to the 7-4 win.
The Hurricanes outshot the Blades 34-25 in the game. Lethbridge went 1/2 on the power play while Saskatoon went 2/5 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #19 Brayden Burke – (1 goal, 1 assist)
2) Blades – #9 Cameron Hebig – (1 goal, 2 assists)
3) ‘Canes – #10 Cory Millette – (1 goal, 1 assist)
The win for the Hurricanes improves their record to 9-8-0-0 on the road and 22-11-0-0 on the season. The Hurricanes are back in action on Friday when they travel to Edmonton to take on the Oil Kings before concluding the six game trek on Saturday night in Red Deer against the Rebels.