The Lethbridge Hurricanes wrapped up a three-in-three US Division road trip on Sunday as they knocked off the Portland Winterhawks in a come-from-behind 6-5 overtime victory.
It was a wild first period that produced a total of five goals. The Hurricanes opened the scoring for the second straight night as Ryley Lindgren jammed home a power play goal just 3:06 into the game putting the ‘Canes up 1-0 – the goal by Lindgren snapped a 12-game goalless drought; assists went to Egor Babenko and Calen Addison. Just 1:10 later, the Winterhawks tied the game as Evan Weinger jumped on a rebound to make it 1-1. The ‘Hawks took their first lead of the night as Skyler McKenzie snapped one through the legs of Stuart Skinner at the 7:00 mark to make it 2-1 but the lead was short-lived as Zane Franklin potted his second of the year just 28 seconds after. Portland re-took the lead at the 14:34 mark as Joachim Blichfeld beat Skinner for a power play goal to give Portland a 3-2 lead. Skinner allowed three goals on seven shots and was replaced by Ryan Gilchrist who stopped eight shots in the back-half of the period. Shots favoured the ‘Hawks 15-11 in the opening twenty minutes of play.
It was a parade to the penalty box in the second period for the Hurricanes. The Winterhawks had two separate five-on-three opportunities in the period but the ‘Canes penalty kill was strong. While four-on-four, Portland took a 4-2 lead as Caleb Jones stepped in and beat Gilchrist high blocker at the 6:28 mark. The Hurricanes got back within one just over three minutes later as Wong netted his first of two in the game and 12th of the season – Colton Kroeker and Giorgio Estephan had the assists. Late in the period though, the ‘Hawks made it a 5-3 game as Weinger scored his second of the night at with 42 seconds left in the middle frame. Portland outshot Lethbridge 13-5 in the second period.
The Hurricanes when trailing heading into the third period had yet to win a game, but the ‘Canes battled hard to try and change that. The Hurricanes pressed hard outshooting Portland 14-9 in the final twenty minutes and they got within a goal as Lindgren banged home his second of the night at the side of the net 9:24 into the period to make it 5-4 – Kroeker picked up the assist on the goal. With a power play with three minutes last in the game, the Hurricanes pulled Gilchrist for a six-on-four attack and it paid off as Estephan scored his ninth of the season with 2:15 left in the game to tie it 5-5 – Brennan Menell and Ryan Vandervlis picked up the assists on the game-tying goal.
The game would go to overtime and the three-on-three extra session lasted just 18 seconds as the Captain, Tyler Wong, scored his second of the night and second straight game-winning goal on a centering pass from Jordy Bellerive to give the Hurricanes a come-from-behind 6-5 overtime victory.
The Hurricanes were outshot 37-31 in the hockey game. Lethbridge went 2/6 on the power play while keeping the ‘Hawks to 1/7 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Winterhawks – #25 Evan Weinger – 2 goals
2) ‘Canes – #16 Ryley Lindgren – 2 goals
3) Winterhawks – #43 Skyler McKenzie – 1 goal
The victory for the Hurricanes was the first ever WHL win for goaltender Ryan Gilchrist. The win was their first against Portland since February of 2013 and was their second consecutive victory. The Hurricanes improved to 9-11-1-2 on the season and 4-6-0-2 away from home while taking four out of a possible six points in a three-in-three US Division trip.
The Hurricanes return home on Friday, November 25th when they welcome the Swift Current Broncos at the ENMAX Centre at 7:00pm. Tickets are available online, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre or Yates Ticket Centre’s.
(Photo Credit: Bryan Heim/Portland Winterhawks)