Lethbridge Hurricanes (38-16-0-0) vs. Saskatoon Blades (19-31-4-0)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes returned home to kick off a mini two game home stand on Wednesday when they welcome the Saskatoon Blades and the ‘Canes improved to 24-3-0-0 on home ice as they earned a 7-4 win over the Blades.
Brayden Burke broke out with a four point night while Tyler Wong had a three point night. Andrew Nielsen, Ben Duperreault, Carter Folk and Kord Pankewicz all has two point nights while Stuart Skinner earned his 21st victory of the season.
The Hurricanes and Blades played an even first period with chances at both ends. The Hurricanes had a power play in the first period that did everything but score. The ‘Canes outshot the Blades 8-6 in the opening twenty minutes.
The flood gates opened in the middle frame as the teams combined for five goals. Just 23 seconds in Nick Zajac made it 1-0 Saskatoon on a sweeping shot to the goal that beat Skinner through the legs, however, just 18 seconds later Carter Folk jumped on a Cory Millette rebound to tie the game with his seventh of the season. Midway through the period, Zajac was hauled down on a shorthanded breakaway resulting in a penalty shot but Skinner made the save keeping the score tied at one. Saskatoon jumped out to their second lead as Colton Waltz snapped one by Skinner making it 2-1, but again just 1:21 later Arvin Atwal potted his eighth of the year on a breakaway tying the game. With just 44 seconds left in the period, Nielsen blasted home his first of two on the night to give the ‘Canes a 3-2 lead after two periods. The ‘Canes outshot the Blades 20-10 in the middle frame.
The ‘Canes continued the onslaught early in the third period as they potted four more. Brayden Burke became the seventh player this season to reach the 20-goal plateau just 2:36 into the period on a power play goal. Nielsen, also on a power play, ripped home his second of the night and 14th of the season under three minutes later making it 5-2. Tyler Wong was the beneficiary of a strong forcheck by Burke who centered and Wong potted his team-leading 28th of the year before Brett Davis snapped a 25-game goalless drought with his fourth of the season to make it 7-2. The Blades added two goals in the final 45 seconds as Connor Gay and Josh Paterson scored to make it a 7-4 final.
Shots were tied 13-13 in the final twenty minutes; the ‘Canes outshot the Blades 41-29 in the game. The Hurricanes went 2/5 on the power play while Saskatoon was 1/5.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #19 Brayden Burke – (1 goal, 3 assists)
2) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – (1 goal, 2 assists)
3) ‘Canes – #6 Andrew Nielsen – (2 goals, including game winner)
The Hurricanes improve to 38-16-0-0 on the season and remain top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes open a stretch of four games in five nights with a convincing win. The Hurricanes are back in action on Friday night when they welcome the Tri-City Americans are 6:00pm.