Lethbridge Hurricanes (40-19-1-1) vs. Regina Pats (30-23-3-4)
It was a good ol’ fashion shootout in every facet of the expression on Wednesday night as the Lethbridge Hurricanes were outduelled 9-8 in a shootout by the Regina Pats at the ENMAX Centre.
The line of Tyler Wong, Brayden Burke and Colton Kroeker combined for 16 points in the loss. Wong had six points (2g-4a), Kroeker potted five points (3g-2a) and Burke chipped in with five points (1g-4a). Despite the career night for a handful of players, the Hurricanes defensive problem caught up to them.
The onslaught of goals started early as Lane Zablocki opened the scoring just 29 seconds into the game to make it 1-0 Regina. Sam Steel and Cole Sanford scored twenty seconds apart at the 7:09 and 7:29 mark to put the Pats up 3-0. The ‘Canes cut into the lead as the Captain Tyler Wong netted his 35th of the season at the 8:41 mark to make it 3-1. Sanford added his second of the period before Rykr Cole potted one on the power play making it 5-1 Regina. The ‘Canes though scored twice in the final minute as Ryley Lindgren banked home his 24th on the power play before Brady Reagan scored his fourth of the season with just seven seconds left in the period as the Pats led 5-3 after one period. Shots favoured the ‘Canes 13-10 in the opening twenty minutes.
After an eight goal first period, the second didn’t see as much fireworks as the first did as the teams combined for three goals. The Hurricanes cut the lead to one as Kroeker scored his first of three on the night to make it 5-4. A breakaway goal by Austin Wagner restored a two-goal Regina lead but under two minutes after that Wong snapped home his team-leading 36th goal of the season to make it 6-5 Pats after an electrifying forty minutes. ‘Canes once again held the edge in shots 15-12 in the second period.
The craziness continued in the third period. Brayden Burke tied the game with a shorthanded goal at the 8:05 mark on a rebound after Wong was stopped on a breakaway but the tie game was short-lived as Zablocki scored his second of the night putting Regina back up 7-6. Once again the Hurricanes managed to tie the game, then take the lead, as Kroeker scored twice 3:08 apart completing the hat-trick to give the ‘Canes their first lead 8-7. Just when you thought they were home free, Regina tied the game with 2:58 left in the game as Zablocki completed his hat-trick to send things to overtime tied 8-8.
Neither team scored in overtime despite glorious opportunities on both sides. Regina has multiple flurries including a Connor Hobbs goal post for the Pats and an Arvin Atwal breakaway post as well. The game went to a shootout and an Austin Wagner goal in the seventh round gave the Pats the advantage, Tyler Brown came up with a big save on Andrew Nielsen as the ‘Canes fell 9-8 in the shootout.
The Hurricanes held the edge in shots on the night outshooting Regina 55-47 on the night. The ‘Canes went 2/4 on the power play while the Pats went 1/4.
Three stars in the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #17 Colton Kroeker – (3 goals, 2 assists)
2) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – (2 goals, 4 assists)
3) Pats – #39 Lane Zablocki – (3 goals)
The loss drops the ‘Canes overall record to 40-19-1-1 on the year and 25-5-0-1 on home ice. The ‘Canes have now been on the wrong end of their last four games and last three on home ice.
The Hurricanes do pick up a single point in the game, enough to keep them in first place in the Eastern Conference, just one point up on the Brandon Wheat Kings. The ‘Canes host the Wheat Kings on Friday night in a first place showdown in the Eastern Conference at 7:00pm.