Lethbridge Hurricanes (40-19-1-0) vs. Calgary Hitmen (34-22-1-2)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes travelled to Calgary to face the Hitmen for the third time this week with designs of snapping a two game losing streak but they weren’t able to as they dropped a 3-2 final at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Jakob Stukel scored twice for the Hitmen in the victory. Cory Millette scored for the second straight night for the ‘Canes in the losing cause while Ryan Vandervlis netted his sixth of the season.
It was a sluggish opening period for the Hurricanes who were outshot 13-6 in the first period. The ‘Canes were given a kneeing penalty just eight seconds into the game, but the Hitmen were unable to capitalize on the man advantage. However, they would get a power play goal on their second opportunity later in the period as Stukel banged home a Travis Sanheim rebound at the 13:11 mark to make it 1-0 Calgary after one period.
The teams traded goals in the middle frame. Just one minute into the period, Stukel snapped home his second of the night and 29th goal of the season as he made Kord Pankewicz pay on a clearing attempt up the middle as Stukel made it 2-0 Hitmen. The Hurricanes cut the lead in half as Ryan Vandervlis banged home his sixth of the season on a goal mouth scramble to make it 2-1. The ‘Canes were outshot 13-10 in the middle frame, but played a much better second period.
The Hurricanes were caught puck watching early in the third period and the Hitmen built on their lead as Dawson Martin snapped home his first ever WHL goal to make it 3-1 Calgary. Once again the Hurricanes attempted a third period comeback and were able to get within one as Millette potted his 26th goal of the season at the 7:35 mark making it a 3-2 score. The Hurricanes pulled the goaltender in hopes of getting a game tying goal; their best chance came in the dying second as Tyler Wong was sprung on a partial breakaway but Nik Amundrud made a nice save as Calgary hung on for the victory.
The Hurricanes were outshot 12-11 in the third period and 38-27 overall. ‘Canes went 0/2 on the power play while the Hitmen went 1/4 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Hitmen – #16 Dawson Martin – (1 goal, game winner)
2) Hitmen – #10 Jakob Stukel – (2 goals)
3) Hitmen – #32 Travis Sanheim – (1 assist)
The Hurricanes have now lost three straight games and have only scored two goals in each of those three losses. The loss for the Hurricanes drops their record to 40-19-1-0 on the season, but they remain three points up on the Brandon Wheat Kings for top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Hurricanes are next in action on Wednesday when they face the Regina Pats at the ENMAX Centre in the first of a three-game home stand.