Lethbridge Hurricanes (30-12-0-0) vs. Kootenay Ice (8-32-3-0)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes continued to roll at home as the ‘Canes won their fourth straight game and their 17th of the season on home ice as they defeated the Kootenay Ice by a 7-1 score.
Brayden Burke and Egor Babenko each scored a pair of goals in the game while Tyler Wong had a three point effort with a goal and two assists to help the ‘Canes to the win. Jayden Sittler was steady making 31 saves in the victory.
The Captain kick-started the offense at the 11:55 mark of the opening period as Tyler Wong stripped a Ice and cut to the goal and slipped it five-hole passed Kootenay goalie Wyatt Hoflin to make it 1-0. Just 36 seconds later, Babenko scored his first of two goals in the game as Justin Gutierrez fed him back door and the Russian rookie made no mistake potting his 21st of the season to make it 2-0 – Nick Watson earned the second assist on the play for his first WHL point. The Hurricanes were outshot 12-11 in the first period but held a two goal lead.
In the second, Kootenay pulled within one as Cale Fleury let fly with a shot from the point to beat Sittler to make it 2-1 with a power play goal. But after that, it was all Hurricanes. Andrew Nielsen scored his 10th of the year on a power play at the 16:25 mark to make it 3-1 – Wong and Burke earned the assists. ‘Canes added a late goal as Burke scored his first of two on the night with just 16 seconds left in the period for his 12th of the year to make it 4-1 at the second intermission. Hurricanes held the shot advantage 11-6 in the second period.
Burke scored his second of the evening 3:43 into the third period on a beautiful set up by Wong and Burke made a move to his forehand before lifting it by Hoflin to make it 5-1 for the ‘Canes. Hurricanes made it 6-1 as Babenko tipped home his 22nd of the season as Igor Merezhko set him up at the side of the net; Cory Millette added the second assist. Gutierrez added his 21st of the season to make the final 7-1.
The Hurricanes were outshot 14-13 in the third period but held the advantage 35-32 in the game. The ‘Canes were 1/3 on the power play while Kootenay was 1/2 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #19 Brayden Burke – (2 goals, 1 assist)
2) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – (1 goal, 2 assists)
3) ‘Canes – #22 Egor Babenko – (2 goals)
The Hurricanes improve to 17-3-0-0 at the ENMAX Centre this season. The ‘Canes earned their 30th victory of the season as they improve to 30-12-0-0; the ‘Canes have the most wins in the WHL but sit one point back of the Kelowna Rockets for first overall in the WHL. It’s the first time since 2008-2009 the ‘Canes have won 30 or more games in a season.
The Hurricanes are back in action on Wednesday when they travel to visit the Swift Current Broncos before returning home Friday night to welcome the Kamloops Blazers on ‘Ugly Blazer Night’ to kick off a five-game home stand.