Sunday, 21 September 2014

Tigers Take Second Game 5-1 Against Hurricanes

The Lethbridge Hurricanes dropped their second straight game to start the 2014-15 WHL season Saturday in Medicine Hat.

The Tigers scored 5 times en route to a 5-1 victory. Just like Friday night, the Hurricanes would score first. Captain Jamal Watson gave the visitors a 1-0 lead with his first of the season just 39 seconds into the hockey. Unfortunately for Lethbridge, that very early goal would be the only time all night long that they'd light the red lamp.

Chad Butcher and Steven Owre scored for Medicine Hat in the opening period to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. The shots favoured the Tigers 16-7.

Medicine Hat extended its lead in the second period with a goal by newcomer Mark Rassell.  That made it 3-1 Tigers through two periods of play. In the third, the home team would seal the deal with a pair of goals. Steven Owre would get his second of the night to make a 4-1 game and Matt Bradley added a bit more insurance to increase the lead to 5-1 and that's the way this game ended.

The shots heavily favoured Medicine Hat for a second night, 39-21. In the two games on opening weekend, the Tigers out shot Lethbridge by a combined total of 77-39. Stuart Skinner played the entire game in goal for the Hurricanes in this one.

Penalties were a problem for the Canes. Medicine Hat went 1/7 while the Hurricanes finished the game 0/3.

The Hurricanes are now 0-2 to start the season with their next two games against the Calgary Hitmen. The Canes are off Friday and Saturday, but travel to Calgary Sunday (Sept. 28) when they take on the Hitmen at the Saddledome for a late afternoon start. Calgary makes the return trip to Lethbridge the following Wednesday (Sept. 30).

For Medicine Hat, Saturday's game was the last-ever WHL home opener the Tigers will play in the old Medicine Hat Arena. The Tigers will play starting next season in the brand new Medicine Hat Events Centre which is being built just off Highway 1 on the outskirts of Medicine Hat.


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Canes Drop Home Opener to Rival Tigers

The Medicine Hat Tigers got a late third period goal to break open a tie game as they beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 3-2 Friday night at ENMAX Centre.

The game wasn't as close as they score indicated. Medicine Hat out shot Lethbridge 38-18 in this game. Canes goaltender Zac Robidoux had a very solid game against his former team. The Canes were out shot 10-0 at one point in the first period and 16-3 when the horn sounded to end the opening frame. It was scoreless after one.

Despite that though, the Canes did score first in the second when Russian Pavel Skumatov scored his first of two goals on the night. That made it 1-0 Lethbridge. Skumatov then made it 2-0 Canes with his second of the season, but for the Hurricanes that would be the only offence on this night as the Tigers came storming back with three unanswered goals to win it. Kyle Becker cut the Lethbridge lead to 2-1 with a goal in the second period and then late in the period Markus Eisenschmid evened the game at 2-2.

In the third period, the game remained tied until the finial two minutes. That's when Medicine Hat's Connor Hobbs scored on a power play to make it 3-2 Tigers. That happened to be the only power play goal either team would score in this game and that was the difference on the scoreboard.

Both teams were missing key players.  The Canes have 5 players out with injury as well as Reid Duke away at Minnesota Wild camp. Medicine Hat went 1/6 on the power play and the Hurricanes 0/5. There was a good crowd on opening night, with just over 4000 fans on hand. The two clubs will do it again Saturday (Sept. 20) when they play in Medicine Hat. The Canes next home game isn't until Wednesday, October 1st when they host the Calgary Hitmen.

Going back to last season, and yes I know that was several months ago and technically has nothing to do with this season, but the Hurricanes have lost 15 straight regular season games. The last time they won was February 12, 2014 when the Canes beat Brandon 3-2 on overtime. The Canes are going to need offence by committee this season. They can't depend on one or two guys to lead the charge. Although the team has a number of returning players from last year, the Canes are still a young squad.

A couple of positives from Friday's home opener for the Canes was the play of Pavel Skumatov who scored twice and goaltender Zac Robidoux. Both are newcomers to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Jamal Watson New Hurricanes Captain

The Lethbridge Hurricanes announced their team captain for the 2014-2015 season and wearing the “C” will be Jamal Watson.


The 19-year old from Calgary, who becomes the 24th Captain in Hurricanes history, has played his entire WHL career with the hockey club. In 63 games last season Watson finished 4th in team scoring with 35 points, including 18 goals.


“Watson went through a lot of adversity last year, but through it all maintained his leadership qualities as well as his dedication to the team. He’s a character guy and has worked extremely hard at getting better as a hockey player each day as well as being a positive leader and role model in our dressing room” commentedHead Coach Drake Berehowsky.


The team will have six Assistant Captains this season who will rotate between home and road games. Riley Sheen, Nick Walters, Tyler Bell, Lenny Hackman, Tyler Wong and Carter Folk will all wear an “A” this season.


Sheen led the team in scoring with 49 points (19G, 30A) last season after being acquired earlier in the year from the Seattle Thunderbirds. Already a steady defenceman and leader, Hackman was joined by Walters and Bell were key additions to the blue line after being acquired from Brandon and Moose Jaw respectively. Up front Carter Folk, who played 43 games, with 9 points, after being acquired from Seattle will also wear an “A” along with Tyler Wong who finished 5th in team scoring with 31 points in 52 games last season.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Hurricanes Set For Start of Regular Season

The Lethbridge Hurricanes kick off the 2014-2015 WHL season Friday night (Sept. 19) at home as they host the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

I had a chance to sit down with GM Brad Robson Monday to discuss the upcoming season. The club is going into the season a little banged up with some injuries, so there likely won't be any more roster cuts until players return from injury.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Hitmen Double Up Hurricanes 2-1 in Pre-Season Play

The Lethbridge Hurricanes wrapped up their pre-season schedule Saturday night with a 2-1 loss to the Calgary Hitmen in the Crowsnest Pass.

The lone Lethbridge goal was scored by Jamal Watson. Calgary out shot the Canes 31-23.

Zac Robidoux played the entire game for Lethbridge in goal. The loss dropped the Canes 2-4 in exhibition play this year.

Scoring the Hurricanes was an issue all of last season and the club is certainly hoping for that to change when the season starts for keeps on Friday (Sept. 19). In six pre-season games, the Hurricanes scored 12 goals, 5 of which came in one game against the Medicine Hat Tigers. If the Canes are going to battle for a playoff position in this 2014-15 campaign, they will have to get a lot of offence.

It appears players like Jaeger White, Pavel Skumatov, and Nikita Milekhin will be nice additions to the Lethbridge offence this season and Tyler Wong should be a nice goal contributor as well if he can stay healthy. No question the Canes have gotten bigger and stronger. For Hurricanes fans, they hope that'll translate in a positive season for this club. No question the pressure is on everyone, from hockey operations staff to the players to get this team back into the post-season.

The Hurricanes open the WHL regular season Friday at home when they host the rival Medicine Hat Tigers. Game time is 7:00 pm MDT at the ENMAX Centre.


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Hurricanes Make Three Roster Moves

The Lethbridge Hurricanes trimmed their roster by three on Saturday by reassigning Connor Rokosh, Johnny Hogue and releasing Reid Nemeth.


Rokosh, a 6’5, 205 pound defenceman was the Hurricanes 4th round (74th overall) pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. The Edmonton native has been reassigned to SSAC in the Midget AAA Hockey League.


Lethbridge native Jonny Hogue who was drafted by the Hurricanes in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft has been reassigned. He rejoined the hockey club midway through last season and posted his first career WHL win January 29th after making 41 saves in a 3-2 win over Prince Albert.


Reid Nemeth, also selected in the 2011 Bantam Draft has been released by the hockey club. The 18-year old had 5 points (3G, 2A) and 9 PIM’s in 58 games last season.


With these moves, the Hurricanes roster is now down to 28 with 2 goalies, 9 defencemen and 17 forwards.

ICE Blank Hurricanes 2-0 in Pre-Season Action

The Lethbridge Hurricanes dropped a 2-0 decision to the Kootenay ICE Friday night in the Crowsnest Pass.

The Canes were unable to light the red lamp in the game. The loss drops their pre-season record to 2-3.  The game was fairly evenly played with the final shots 27-27.  Zak Zborosky and Kyle O'Connor scored the two goals for the ICE in this game.

Stuart Skinner played the entire game in goal for Lethbridge in this game. 

The Canes will close out the pre-season Saturday (Sept. 13) when they take on the Calgary Hitmen, also in Coleman. Game time is 7:00 pm MDT. The regular season gets going Friday, September 19th.