Friday, 27 February 2015

Canes Lose 5th Straight, 3-2 to Edmonton

After ten days away, I'm back in the saddle blogging about the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Club is down to its final 11 games in the regular season. It'll be interesting to see how things unfold when the off-season begins in less than a month for this club. The Canes will miss the playoffs for a 6th consecutive season. For a second year in a row though, the club will have a shot at the first overall pick in the WHL Bantam Draft in a few months as well as another top selection in this year's CHL Import Draft.

The positive is that the Canes have been playing better hockey since the WHL's trade deadline in early January. Again, there will be plenty of questions to be asked after the season is done and I'm sure the whole discussion about selling this long time community-owned franchise will heat up again in the weeks to follow the end of the season.

Other questions that'll be asked include the future of Head Coach and GM Peter Anholt. Will he be back running the show next year and beyond? Will he be offered a contract going forward? Does he want both jobs? Does he want just one of the two? Will the other coaches, Mike Craig, Bryan Maxwell, and Jeff Battah come back for another season under Anholt if he returns?  Again, plenty of questions going forward, likely guaranteeing another eventful off-season in Hurricane land!

With that said, the Canes played host to the Edmonton Oil Kings Thursday night at the ENMAX Centre. Edgars Kulda scored a couple of minutes into overtime as the defending WHL and Memorial Cup Champs beat the Canes 3-2.

The loss was the Canes 5th in a row.

The Hurricanes actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead in this hockey game. Mike Winther scored his 12th goal of the season to give the Canes a 1-0 lead early. That was followed up by Ryan Vandervlis who put home his 2nd of the season about six minutes later to give the home team a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes of play.

There was no scoring in the second period of this game, giving the Canes that same two goal lead heading in the final period.

In the third though, the Oil Kings came charging back. Brandon Ralph got the visitors to within one goal when he scored midway through the period and then with just over a minute to go, Edmonton tied the game with a power play goal from Brett Pollock. That tied things up at 2-2, sending the game into overtime. In the extra period the Oil Kings completed the comeback when Edgars Kulda scored and that would be it, Edmonton ended up scoring three unanswered goal to win the game 3-2.

The loss drops the Canes overall record to 18-35-5-3 in 61 games this season. Stuart Skinner was very busy in goal as the Oil Kings heavily out shot the Hurricanes 48-21. Edmonton went 1/6 on the power play and Lethbridge 0/5.

The Canes next action is Saturday (Feb. 28) when they take the Rebels in Red Deer. It's the first of five in a row on the road. Next week the Canes will travel east to Brandon Wednesday (Mar. 4), Saskatoon Friday (Mar. 5), and in Prince Alberta (Mar. 6). They'll return west, but play in Kootenay (Mar. 10). The Hurricanes have only four home games left, they're next game at the ENMAX Centre isn't until Friday, March 13th when they host Edmonton again.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Hurricanes Beat Saskatoon Blades 5-3

The Lethbridge Hurricaes are currently playing their best hockey in well over two seasons. Giorgio Estephan scored twice as the Canes beat Saskatoon 5-3 Saturday night at the ENMAX Centre.

The Canes got off to a 2-0 lead in this. Kord Pankewicz got things rolling when he scored a power play goal, his 6th of the season at he 7:18 mark to make it 1-0 Lethbridge. They struck again a few minutes later when Devan Fafard scored his 4th goal of the year to give the home team a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes of play.

In the second, the Blades started chipping their way back into the game. Mason McCarty scored early, beating Stuart Skinner to cut the Canes lead to 2-1. Lethbridge did get that one back on yet another power play goal, this one from the red hot Giorgio Estephan. He scored his 15th of the year to make it a 3-1 Hurricanes lead. Again the Blades made it a one goal game. Late in the period, McCarty scored his second of the night to cut the Canes lead to 3-2 after two periods.

In the second, Saskatoon came back to tie the score. One minute into the period, Nick Zajac scored and just like that the game was tied at 3-3. The Hurricanes though would never fall behind in this game. Giorgio Estephan scored the eventual game winner with six minutes to go, his second of the game and 16th of the season to the Hurricanes ahead 4-3. Then an empty net goal from Carter Folk, his 10th of the year sealed the deal and the Canes would win it 5-3.

The Hurricanes have now won 6 of their last 7 games and improve their overall record to 18-31-3-3 on the season. Saskatoon out shot the Hurricanes 35-29. The Canes went 2/5 on the power play and Saskatoon was 1/3.

The Hurricanes play at home Tuesday (Feb. 17) against the Kootenay ICE. Then hit the road for a U.S. trip next weekend with games in Seattle, Portland, and Everett.

I'm away for the next few days so the blog will be silent until February 25th. It's nice to see the Canes playing some good hockey and giving heir fans something to cheer about! I was at the game Saturday against Saskatoon and it was certainly sun to watch.


Saturday, 14 February 2015

Canes Beat Rebels 2-1 in Red Deer

Jayden Sittler made good on his return to his home town as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the Rebels 2-1 in Red Deer Friday night.

The Hurricanes generated less than 20 shots the whole game, but that was enough in this one as the club is playing it's best hockey of the season right now. The victory in Red Deer was the Hurricanes 4th in their last five games.

The Canes scored both their goals in the first period of this game. Jamal Watson opened the scoring with his 21st of the season at the 16:25 mark to make it 1-0 Lethbridge. Just over a minute later the Canes struck again, this time a shorthanded goal from Florian Baltram, his 5th of the season. That made it 2-0 Lethbridge. That shorthanded goal would end up turning out to be the game winner.

There was no scoring in the second period, but the Rebels ended up breaking the shutout bid for Jayden Sittler early in the 3rd period, when Presten Kopek scored to cut the Canes lead to 2-1. That's as close as thy would get, and the Hurricanes skated away with a 2-1 victory.

The win improves their record to 17-31-3-3 on the season. The Canes went 0/3 on the power play, but scored once shorthanded. The Rebels were 1/6. Overall the shots total were low in this game, with the Rebels out shooting the Hurricanes 27-19.

The Hurricanes are back in action Saturday (Feb. 14) when they host Saskatoon for a Valentine's Day match up with the Blades. Game time is 7:00 pm MST.  The Hurricanes are also home Tuesday (Feb. 17) to host Kootenay. After that the team hits the road for a trip down in the U.S. with games in Seattle (Feb. 20), Portland (Feb. 21), and Everett (Feb. 22).


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Hurricanes Double Warriors 6-3

The Lethbridge Hurricanes won for the 4th time in their last five games beating the Moose Jaw Warriors 6-3 Wednesday night at the ENMAX Centre.

Stuart Skinner was brilliant again between the pipes and a big reason the Canes came out with the victory in this game.

The Hurricanes opened the scoring at the 4:27 mark of the first period when Florian Baltram put home his 4th goal of the season to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. Before the end of the period, Moose Jaw tied the score at 1-1 when a power play goal from Tanner Eberle.

In the second, Jack Rodewald put the visitors ahead 2-1 when he scored a shorthanded goal just over two minutes into the period. The Canes got that back when Mike Winther scored his 9th goal of the season on a power play to even things again, this time 2-2. The Hurricanes jumped ahead by one goal late in the period on another power play. This time Johnny Wesley scoring his 3rd of the season to put the Canes ahead 3-2 through 40 minutes of play.

In the third, Jamal Watson put the Canes up by a pair with his 19th of the year, making it a 4-2 game. The Warriors again fought back. Jiri Smejkal cut the lead to 4-3, but that's as close as Moose Jaw would get in this game. The Canes added two more goals, another from Watson and an empty netter from Andrew Nielsen to seal the deal and the Hurricanes skated away with a 6-3 victory.

The win improves the Hurricanes record to 16-31-3-3 on the season. Skinner was great in goal for Lethbridge in this game, being named the first star. The Warriors out shot Lethbridge 41-28. The Canes went 2/5 on the power play and also scored a shorthanded goal. Moose Jaw went 1/4 and also scored once shorthanded.

The Canes hit the road for their next game, Friday (Feb. 13) in Red Deer against the Rebels.


Monday, 9 February 2015

Wheat Kings Beat Hurricanes 7-2

The Lethbridge Hurricanes had a three game winning streak end Sunday with a 7-2 loss to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Wheaties busted the game open with four goals in the first 10 minutes of the first period. Quintin Lisoway got things going for Brandon with a goal at the 2:26 mark, making it 1-0. That was followed up just over a minute later when Peter Quenneville scored to make it 2-0. Five minutes after that, another Brandon goal, this time from Rihards Bukarts. Just past the midway point in the period, the Wheat Kings struck again. Morgan Klimchuk scored to make it 4-0. That was it for goalie Jayden Sittler. He was pulled in favour of Stuart Skinner for the rest of the game.

In the second, the Canes got one of those back when Carter Folk scored his 9th of the year shorthanded to cut the Brandon lead to 4-1. The visitors though got that one back before the end of the period when Tyler Coulter scored to give the Wheaties a 5-1 lead through 40 minutes of play.

In the third, Rihards Bukarts scored again for Brandon, giving them a 6-1 lead. Braylon Shmyr scored a few minutes later on a power play to give the Wheat Kings a commanding 7-1 lead. Lethbridge managed one more goal before it was all said and done. The red hot Giorgio Estephan scored again, his 14th of the season on the power play to cut the lead to 7-2, but that's as close as they Hurricanes got in this game.

The Wheat Kings heavily out shot Lethbridge 55-25 in the game. The loss drops the Canes overall record to 15-31-3-3 on the season. The Hurricanes went 1/3 on the power play and Brandon was 1/6.

The Canes next action is Wednesday (Feb. 11) when they host the Moose Jaw Warriors.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Canes Down Tigers 4-1 in Medicine Hat

The Hurricanes got the best of their rivals for a second night in a row.

Four different players scored as the Canes beat the Medicine Hat Tigers 4-1 Saturday. That's back-to-back wins against the second-best team in the WHL's Eastern Conference.

The Hurricanes got things going in this game. Ryley Lindgren opened the scoring late in the first period when he scored his 5th goal of the season to give the visitors a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The Canes added a few more in the second period, including a shorthanded goal. Kade Jensen scored his 4th of the year at 14:52 of the second to make it 2-0 Lethbridge and then just over a minute later, Jamal Watson put home his 18th goal of the season, shorthanded to give the Canes a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes of play.

The Tigers got one of those goals back early in the third when Trevor Cox beat Stuart Skinner, but that was the only offence the Tigers could get going in this game. The Hurricanes iced the game with an empty netter with three seconds to go courtesy of Devan Fafard, his 3rd of the season. The Canes would win it 4-1 on the road in what has not been a kind place to play for this team over the last number of years.

Skinner was great in goal again as the Tigers out shot the Hurricanes 40-20 on the night. The Canes went 0/6 on the power play, but scored one shorthanded. The Tigers finished the night 0/5. The victory improves the Canes record to 15-30-3-3 on the season. It's also the team's third win in a row this week, with victories this weekend against the Tigers twice and earlier in the week a win in Edmonton. The Canes score four times in each victory.

The Canes will close out three games in three days with some tough competition on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 8). The second-best team in the WHL rolls into the town as the Brandon Wheat Kings provide the opposition. Game time from ENMAX Centre is 4:00 pm MST.  The Hurricanes will host Moose Jaw Wednesday (Feb. 11)


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Hurricanes Beat Tigers 4-3

After a one hour delay in the third period to fix a hole in the ice, the Lethbridge Hurricanes held on to beat the rival Medicine Hat Tigers 4-3 Friday night at the ENMAX Centre.

The Tigers opened the scoring in this game when Trevor Cox beat goalie Jayden Sittler to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The Canes got that goal back a few minutes later when Carter Folk put home his 8th goal of the season to even things at 1-1. Before the end of the period, the Hurricanes would strike twice more to take a two goal lead into the dressing room.  Two red hot players, Giorgio Estephan and Bryaden Burke would get in on the action. Estephan scored his 13th of the year at 17:14 and then with just 58 seconds to go in the period, Burke scored his 5th of the year to make it 3-1 Hurricanes through 20 minutes of play.

In the second, the Canes jumped ahead by three goals when Tyler Wong notched his 22nd goal of the season, making it 4-1 Lethbridge. The Tigers though came fighting back with a pair of goals to make for an interesting finish. Chad Labelle scored a power play goal at 9:18, cutting the lead to 4-2 and then a few minutes after that, Cole Sanford got the Tigers to within one goal. It was 4-3 Canes after two periods of play.

In the third, the Tigers tried to get back to even terms. A lengthy delay took place for nearly an hour midway through the period after a hole was discovered in the ice, prompting some fancy work by ENMAX Centre staff to fix the problem. Once the game resumed neither team was able to score and the Canes would hold on for a hard fought 4-3 win over their Highway 3 rivals. It's the Canes second win in a row. The victory improves their overall record to 14-30-3-3 on the season. The shots were close, but the Tigers held a slight 37-32 edge in that department. The Hurricanes went 0/3 with the power play and the Tigers 1/1.

The two clubs will play again Saturday (Feb. 7), this time in Medicine Hat. Game time is 7:30 pm MST. The Hurricanes will play their third game in three days Sunday (4pm) when they host the Eastern Conference-leading Brandon Wheat Kings.