Lethbridge Hurricanes (37-16-0-0) vs. Kootenay Ice (9-40-4-0)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes traveled to Cranbrook on Saturday night in hopes of building on the momentum created the night before, but the momentum came to a screeching halt as the Hurricanes were shutout 2-0 by the basement-dwelling Kootenay Ice.
The Hurricanes generated some quality scoring chances in the game directing 31 shots on goal but Ice netminder Wyatt Hoflin was sharp stopping every chance he saw as he picked up his second shutout of the season.
It was a good first period for both clubs. The ‘Canes and Ice both skated well and had chances but neither team found the net. Both teams had a chance on the power in the period but neither really created much. Hurricanes outshot the Ice 15-13 in the first period but it was scoreless after one as the goalie Hoflin and Jayden Sittler were sharp early.
In the second period, the game started to sway to the side of the home team who appeared to want it more than the road side. Midway through the second period, Carter Folk was issued an interference penalty and the Ice struck on the man advantage as River Beattie jumped onto a rebound and slid it by Sittler to make it 1-0 Kootenay at the 7:27 mark – Jesse Zaharichuk and Matt Alfaro picked up the assists on the play. The Hurricanes and Ice both had 10 shots in the period as the Ice led 1-0 after two periods.
Kootenay continued to outwork the ‘Canes in the third period as they outshot Lethbridge 10-6 in the final twenty minutes. Hurricanes got into some penalty trouble in the period the tripped up their bid to try and find a game-tying goal. At the 10:01 mark, Alfaro stole the puck away from a Hurricanes defender in the slot of the ‘Canes zone turned and outwaited Sittler to bury his 16th of the season to make it 2-0 Kootenay. The Hurricanes tried to generate some offense, including a goal post on a power play by Jordy Bellerive but the ‘Canes would take a too-many-men penalty in the dying minutes that turned out to be costly as the ‘Canes ran out of time.
The Hurricanes were outshot 33-31 in the contest. Lethbridge went 0/2 on the power play while the Ice were 1/5 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Ice – #30 Wyatt Hoflin – (31 saves, shutout)
2) Ice – #25 River Beattie – (1 goal, game winner)
3) Ice – #21 Matt Alfaro – (1 goal, 1 assist)
The Hurricanes have now lost four of their last five games, all four coming on the road, after winning ten straight contests. The ‘Canes fall to 37-16-0-0 on the season and slip back to second in the WHL standings behind the Kelowna Rockets. The ‘Canes now also only hold a two point lead on the Brandon Wheat Kings for top spot in the Eastern Conference and just three points on the Red Deer Rebels for first in the Central Division.
The Hurricanes are back in action on Wednesday night when they welcome the Saskatoon Blades at 7:00pm at the ENMAX Centre.