The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked off a three in four night home stand on Wednesday with a 5-2 victory over the defending WHL regular season champion Victoria Royals.
Brayden Burke and Giorgio Estephan each had three points in the victory while Egor Babenko added a pair of goals. Jordy Bellerive returned to the line-up after missing the two game road trip in Washington with due to sickness. The game was also the return of former Hurricanes forward Carter Folk who was traded to the Royals in September.
The Hurricanes once again had a great start to the game as they scored the first goal of the game for the sixth straight contest as Babenko scored his fourth goal of the year to make it 1-0 Hurricanes 2:43 into the game – Bellerive picked up the lone assist on the goal in his return to the line-up after missing the last two games. The goal for Babenko extended his point scoring streak to six straight games. The Royals answered late in the period as Jack Walker scored his fourth of the season on a breakaway to tie it up 1-1 after twenty minutes of play. The Royals held the shot department 13-10 in the first period.
The ‘Canes had a very strong second period outshooting the Royals 11-7 in the middle frame. The Hurricanes struck twice just 2:06 apart. First, Estephan, who was robbed twice in the first period by Royals goaltender Griffen Outhouse, finally made good for his first of the season at the 7:52 mark on a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play – Burke and Jesse Zaharichuk picked up the assists. Just over two minutes later, the ‘Canes struck again as Burke netted his first of the season on a five-on-three power play at the 9:58 mark to make it 3-1 Lethbridge after two periods of play.
In the third period, the Hurricanes would steer home the game adding a pair while giving up one late. Estephan netted his second of the game at the 4:07 mark to make it a 4-1 lead – Burke and Igor Merezhko earned the assists. The ‘Canes made it 5-1 with a goal at the 10:24 mark as Babenko snuck one under the pads of Dylan Myskiw who replaced Outhouse in the game – Estephan and Calen Addison picked up the helpers on Babenko’s second of the night. The Royals added one last with just 2:36 left in the game making it a 5-2 final.
The Royals outshot the Hurricanes 18-6 in the third period and 38-27 overall in the game. The Hurricanes went 1/3 on the power play while the Royals were 0/3 on the man advantage.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #9 Giorgio Estephan – 2 goals, 1 assist
2) ‘Canes – #19 Brayden Burke – 1 goal, 2 assists
3) ‘Canes – #22 Egor Babenko – 2 goals
The win for the Hurricanes snapped a 16-game winning streak for the Royals against Eastern Conference opponents while improving their home ice record to 4-1-0-0 on the season and their overall record to 5-2-0-1 on the year.
The Hurricanes are back in action on Friday night when they welcome Darian Skeoch and the Vancouver Giants at the ENMAX Centre at 7:00pm. Tickets are available online, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre and Yates Ticket Centres.