Lethbridge Hurricanes (25-11-0-0) vs. Medicine Hat Tigers (12-19-3-1)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked off the unofficial second half of the season Sunday with the final game of the first half of their schedule and they did not disappoint picking up a thrilling 5-4 overtime win in Medicine Hat against the Tigers.
The Hurricanes were led by Giorgio Estephan and Ryley Lindgren who each had two goals in the victory. Andrew Nielsen and Brayden Burke also had two assists in the win. Jayden Sittler earned his 12th victory of the season making 27 saves, including three huge stops in the overtime session.
It was a good start to the game for the Hurricanes who had some good early looks but Nick Schneider stood tall keeping the game scoreless. The ‘Canes did open the scoring however as Estephan scored his first of two on the night with a power play snipe at the 10:12 mark of the first – assists went to Burke and Nielsen. Ryley Lindgren scored his first of the game at the 17:22 mark to make it 2-0 – Carter Folk and Nielsen earned the helpers as the ‘Canes led 2-0 after one period. Lethbridge outshot Medicine Hat 13-7 in the first period.
Medicine Hat came to life in the second period as they got on the board early as Max Gerlach scored 13 seconds into a power play to make it 2-1 as he had a puck pinball to him at the side of the net. Just 45 seconds later, the ‘Canes rebuilt their two goal lead as Justin Gutierrez potted his 18th of the year to extend his point scoring streak to eight games making it 3-1. Two goals just under seven minutes apart by the Tigers’ Cole Sanford and Mark Rassell tied the game at three. With 1:52 left in the period Jordy Bellerive centred for Estephan who buried one by Schneider to give the ‘Canes a 4-3 lead after two periods. Tigers had the favoured the shot department 14-10 in the middle frame.
It was a fast-paced third period that saw a stretch of five minutes in the middle part of the period without a whistle. The Hurricanes did surrender a game-tying goal as Matt Bradley bust in on the left wing and slipped one under the pad of Sittler to make it 4-4. With 2:48 left in the game, the ‘Canes netminder Sittler hustled out of the crease to swat away a puck that a Tiger was racing to for a breakaway, but the puck went over the glass and out of play, resulting in a delay of game penalty. The Hurricanes killed off the penalty and the game went to overtime.
In the overtime session, the Tigers had the edge in shots 3-2 and the best chances went in favour of the home team. Medicine Hat had a break and a two-on-one that Sittler made great saves on both keeping the game tied. With 2:23 gone in the extra session, Lindgren buried his second of the game and second overtime winner of the season to give the Hurricanes a 5-4 victory.
The Hurricanes outshot the Tigers 38-31 in the game. The ‘Canes went 1/1 on the power play while the Tigers went 2/3 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #9 Giorgio Estephan – (2 goals)
2) Tigers – #26 Cole Sanford – (1 goal, 2 assists)
3) ‘Canes – #19 Brayden Burke – (2 assists)
The victory for the Hurricanes improves their road record to 12-8-0-0 and their overall record to 25-11-0-0 on the season. The ‘Canes remain first place in the Eastern Conference with 50 points on the year. The Hurricanes are now 13-1-0-0 against the Central Division.
The Hurricanes have now won five straight games and posted a record of 6-1-0-0 in seven straight games away from home. ‘Canes return home Tuesday to face the Tigers in the second of the home-and-home.