Lethbridge Hurricanes (46-23-1-1) vs. Medicine Hat Tigers (29-37-3-2)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked off the final weekend of the regular season with their home finale against the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night with a chance to clinch the Central Division and the ‘Canes delivered a 9-3 win in front of a sellout crowd of 5,320 fans at the ENMAX Centre to claim their first Division title since 1996-1997.
The game featured a bit of everything: lots of goals, big hits, post-period scrums and a goal by a goaltender as Stuart Skinner potted an empty net goal while making 38 saves in the win. A total of 15 of 18 Hurricane skaters, not including Skinner, registered at least a point while six had multi-point efforts.
The Hurricanes jumped on the board 8:39 into the opening period as Tyler Wong tracked down a Tiger on a ferocious fore-check, stole the puck and centered to Ryley Lindgren who made no mistake chipping one over Tigers’ goalie Nick Schneider to make it 1-0; the assist for Wong extended his personal point scoring streak to 14 games. The ‘Canes made it 2-0 just under five minutes later as Ben Duperreault pick-pocketed Ty Stanton, cut to the goal and outwaited Schneider slipping one home to give the ‘Canes a two-goal advantage after twenty minutes of play. The ‘Canes were outshot 13-11 in the first period.
Just 1:39 into the second period, the ‘Canes made it 3-0 as Cory Millette had a Jordy Bellerive shot deflect off his knee and in for his 34th goal of the season on a power play. Tigers netted a power play goal of their own as David Quenneville jumped on a rebound off a Zach Fischer shot to cut the lead to 3-1. However, the Hurricanes pressed for more and just over four minutes later Wong tucked home his team-leading 43rd of the season to make it 4-1. Brayden Burke added his 26th of the season a breakaway with just 49 seconds left as the ‘Canes held a 5-1 lead after two periods.
In the third, the roof exploded in the ENMAX Centre. Burke netted his second of the night, and 27th of the season, just 6:12 into the game. The Tigers potted a pair of power play goals just 48 seconds apart as Quenneville and Fischer beat Skinner. Medicine Hat pulled the goalie with over four minutes left and the ‘Canes made them pay. First Colton Kroeker potted an empty before Skinner sent one 200-feet into the net to erupt the ENMAX Centre volcano. Ryan Vandervlis added one for good measure making it a 9-3 final.
The Hurricanes were outshot 17-9 in the final twenty minutes and 41-31 overall in the game. The ‘Canes went 2/3 on the power play while the Tigers were 3/6 on the man advantage.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #10 Cory Millette – (1 goal, 1 assist)
2) ‘Canes – #4 Arvin Atwal – (1 assist)
3) ‘Canes – #74 Stuart Skinner – (1 goal, 38 saves)
The Hurricanes improve to 46-23-1-1 on the season and end the regular campaign with a 28-7-0-1 record on home ice. The Hurricanes will complete the regular season Saturday night when they travel to visit the Medicine Hat Tigers at the Canalta Centre.
Tickets for the first round of the post-season go on sale Saturday morning at 10:00am. Tickets can be purchased at the ENMAX Centre Ticket Centre or by calling (403) 329-SEAT (7328).