The Lethbridge Hurricanes wrapped up a three-game home stand on Wednesday night against the Kelowna Rockets in hopes of winning their fourth straight on home ice but it was not to be as the Hurricanes surrendered a third period lead to fall 6-3.
Rockets forward Calvin Thurkauf led all scorers in the game with two goals and three assists. Brennan Riddle made his Hurricanes debut while Giorgio Estephan made his season debut after returning from the Buffalo Sabres training camp.
The Rockets entered play as the most penalized team in the Western Hockey League and it didn’t take them long to live up to the reputation as it took them just 16 seconds to head to the box as Tomas Soustal took a slashing penalty. The Hurricanes failed to capitalize on the man advantage on the first power play of the game but they did strike with the extra man on their second opportunity. At the 4:44 mark, Colton Kroeker banged home a rebound passed Rockets goalie Michael Herringer to make it 1- Hurricanes – Jordy Bellerive and Egor Babenko picked up the assists. There was some feeling in the period as Igor Merezhko and Riley Stadel dropped the mitts, a rare fight between teams in opposite conferences. The Rockets hit a pair of goal posts in the first period while the Hurricanes had one. Shots were tied 11-11 in the first period.
It was a sloppy second period that saw the Hurricanes and Rockets trade goals. After killing off an early five-on-three, the Rockets quickly countered as the penalties expired and Gordie Ballhorn stepped up and ripped one by Skinner off the rush to tie the game 1-1 just 2:18 into the middle frame. The Hurricanes re-took the lead however just over ten minutes later as Jesse Zaharichuk sniped one by Herringer to give the ‘Canes a 2-1 lead – Lindgren and Kord Pankewicz picked up the assists. Zaharichuk and Lindgren extending their point scoring streaks to three games each. The shots were once again tied 8-8 in the period and 19-19 thru forty minutes.
Once again early in the period, the Rockets mustered a game tying goal as Thurkauf scored his first of two in the game at the 2:33 mark while on the power play to draw the Rockets even. On a power play of their own, the Hurricanes took their third lead of the game as Tyler Wong netted his second of the season at the 9:05 mark to give the ‘Canes a 3-2 lead – Brayden Burke and Giorgio Estephan picked up the helpers. The lead however was short-lived as the Rockets reeled off three goals in a span of 2:45 seconds. First, Kole Lind tied the game with his second of the year at the 11:23 mark. Then Thurkauf snapped home his second of the period before Tomas Soustal netted another power play goal. With the goaltender pulled, Rockets forward Jordan Borstmayer was hauled down on a breakaway and was credited an empty net goal as Kelowna came back to stun the Hurricanes 6-3.
Shots were tied 8-8 in the third period and 27-27 in the game. The Hurricanes went 2/8 on the power play while the Rockets were 2/4 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Rockets – #27 Calvin Thurkauf – 2 goals, 1 assists
2) Rockets – #15 Tomas Soustal – 1 goal, 1 assist
3) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – 1 goal
The Hurricanes fall to 3-2-0-0 on the season and 3-1-0-0 on home ice. The Hurricanes went 2-1-0-0 on their three game home stand and will now travel to take on the Spokane Chiefs on Friday night.