Lethbridge Hurricanes (1-0) vs. Regina Pats (0-1)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked off their post-season Friday night at the ENMAX Centre and it was a ‘Good Friday’ as the ‘Canes doubled up the Regina Pats 6-3 to take a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven first round matchup.
Brayden Burke and Cory Millette each scored twice while Egor Babenko and Arvin Atwal each had three assists in the victory. Stuart Skinner stopped 26 of 29 shots he saw in the game making some great saves including a two-on-nothing with Cole Sanford and Adam Brooks.
The Hurricanes didn’t take long to charge up an already exuberant crowd as Millette netted a power play goal just 1:54 into the period as he beat Tyler Brown on a backhand shot – Kord Pankewicz and Babenko picked up the assists. The ‘Canes added on their lead as Burke scored his first of two goals in the game at the 14:07 mark to make it 2-0 with a power play marker. Before the period was out, the Pats struck on the power play themselves as Adam Brooks scored on a five-on-three, cutting the lead to 2-1 after twenty minutes of play. Shots were tied 13-13 after the first period.
Regina had a strong start to the second period as the pushed the pace. Austin Wagner tied the game on a two-on-one as he beat Skinner with a laser to the top shelf just 4:16 into the middle period. With a power play, the Pats took the lead as Connor Hobbs blasted a point shot by a screened Skinner to make it 3-2 Pats. However, with 3:39 left in the middle frame, Carter Folk scored a beautiful goal in front of the net outwaiting Brown to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the third period. ‘Canes outshot the Pats 13-9 in the middle stanza.
The Hurricanes re-took the lead early in the third period as Burke had a puck deflect to him at the side of the net and from nearly the same spot as his first goal he found the net putting the ‘Canes back in front, 4-3. On yet another power play, Millette gave the ‘Canes some breathing room just five minutes later as he snapped home his second of the contest giving Lethbridge a 5-3 advantage. Kord Pankewicz rounded out the scoring with another power play goal at the 15:20 mark to give the ‘Canes a 6-3 lead.
The Hurricanes outshot the Pats 11-7 in the third period and 37-29 in the game. The ‘Canes were 4/12 on the power play while the Pats were 2/6.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #10 Cory Millette – (2 goals, 1 assist)
2) Pats – #77 Adam Brooks – (1 goal, 2 assists)
3) ‘Canes – #19 Brayden Burke – (2 goals, including game-winner)
The win for the Hurricanes is their first playoff victory since April 1, 2009. The ‘Canes take a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 2 slated Saturday at 7:00pm.
Tickets are still available by calling (403) 329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre Ticket Centre.