Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Canes Down Rebels 5-2

The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored three times on the power play as they beat the visiting Red Deer Rebels 5-2 Tuesday night at the ENMAX Centre.

In fact the Canes, through five games this season, have the third-best power play in thee Western Hockey League, clicking at 31.2%. That 9 power play goals on 28 chances. It's also a complete reversal of where the Canes have been on the man advantage the past number of season. A very positive stat this early in the season.

The Hurricanes opened the scoring in this game thanks to the man with the hot hand. Captain Tyler Wong put Lethbridge up 1-0 with a power play goal at the 7:52. That was his first of two on the night and 6th this season. It was also the only goal of the period.

In the second, Lethbridge went up by two when Egor Babenko put home his 2nd of the season midway through the period to give the home team a 2-0 lead. Red Deer cut the lead in half a few minutes later when Brandon Hagel scored on a power play to make it a 2-1 game. Before the end of the period, the Hurricanes would get that goal back on yet another power play. Andrew Nielsen scored his first of the year with the extra man and the put Lethbridge ahead 3-1 after 40 minutes of play.

In the third, Nielsen scored again, also on the power play. That was his second of the season and put the Canes up 4-1. It stayed that way until this final few minutes when Adam Musil scored a power play goal for Red Deer, cutting the Lethbridge lead to 4-2, but Tyler Wong put this one away when he scored into an empty net, his second of the game and 7th of the season to seal the 5-2 win for the Hurricanes.

The victory improves the Hurricanes to 3-2 on the season. They also out shot Red Deer 40-29 on the night. Lethbridge went 3/6 on the power play and Red Deer 2/5. For Red Deer, it was their first loss of the WHL season.

The Hurricanes are playing very well right now. The power play is red hot and they have two players in the top 10 in the WHL scoring. Brayden Burke is tied for third overall with 10 points (2G 8A) and Tyler Wong has nine points (7G 2A). Those seven goals by the way after Tuesday night are the most scored in the WHL.

The Canes next action is Friday (Oct. 9) when they host Medicine Hat. Game time is 7:00 pm MDT at the ENMAX Centre.


Monday, 5 October 2015

Canes Hold 2015 AGM

For the first time in a long time, the Lethbridge Hurricanes held a rather uneventful Annual General Meeting. In fact not once in two hours was the word "sale" mentioned.

The biggest part of the evening was the Auditors Financial Report for last season (2014-15). It showed the Hurricanes lost $486,253 last season. That's on top of the more than $390,000 loss the club took the season before that.  On a positive note, the Canes have revamped their budgeting process and have come back with a very realistic and achievable goal this current WHL season of making a profit of just under $150,000.

In fact Business Manager Terry Husiman told shareholders he was able to find $100,000 in expenses to cut prior to the budget being put together and then found an additional $100,000 to cut after the budget was drafted.

Media spoke with Hurricanes President Doug Paisley (he was re-elected to the Board at the AGM). His thoughts you can listen to below:

Here are some of the highlights from Monday's Hurricanes AGM:

* The financial from last season show a loss of $486,25. Loss mainly due to over-budgeting on ticket sales and game night promotions.

* The Hurricanes have budgeted for a profit this season of close to $150,000

* Canes used money ($183,000) from team's Education Fund to put into general revenue. Team said it had paid "education costs" the past two seasons so it was allowed take money from the education fund to pay back the money it had given from general revenue.

* President Paisley says Hurricanes are working on a good partnership with the City of Lethbridge and ENMAX Centre

* Paisley says WHL Commissioner Ron Robison is happy direction the club is now going under current leadership

* Business Manager Terry Huisman says team is close to 2000 season tickets right now

* Hurricanes now selling new "Par Value" shares at $1000 each

* Main reason for the shares is to raise additional revenue for the club so it doesn't have to relay on borrowing money to operate in the future

* Hurricanes have about 2200 shares total, but only 900 shareholders are considered active

* GM Peter Anholt says team will be a lot more patient and develop these players and work really hard with the current group

* Six positions up for grabs on Hurricanes Board. Former President Brian McNaughton resigned leaving a total of six spots open. Six people were announced to be running. All were acclaimed including: Doug Paisley, Dave Olsen, Brent McDowell, Ryan Tunall, Blaine Hyggen, and Darren Stocker.


Rich Preston Named Assistant Coach With NHL's Ducks

The Ducks have named Rich Preston as an assistant coach.

Preston joins Head Coach Bruce Boudreau, Assistant Coaches Trent Yawney and Paul MacLean, and Video Coordinator Joe Piscotty on the Ducks coaching staff.

A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Preston has previously been an NHL assistant coach with Chicago (1991-1995), Calgary (1997-2000 & 2003-2009), and San Jose (2000-2003). He was the Head Coach for Regina of the Western Hockey League (WHL) from 1995-97 and the General Manager/Head Coach of Lethbridge (WHL) from 2009-13.

Preston played in the NHL from 1979-1987, appearing with the Chicago Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils. He played in 580 NHL games, scoring 127-164=291 points. He also played in the World Hockey Association (WHA), winning championships with the Houston Aeros (1974-1975) and Winnipeg Jets (1978-1979). Preston was also named the 1979 WHL Playoff MVP.

(From Anaheim Ducks)


Rockets Double Hurricanes 6-3

Gage Qinney scored twice as the defending WHL Champions, the Kelown Rockets beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 6-3 Sunday evening at the ENMAX Centre.

Tyson Ballie opened the scoring on a power play 8:10 into the opening period to give the Rockets a 1-0 lead. That was the only offence in the period.

In the second period, the visitors jumped ahead 2-0 at the 3:00 mark. Justin Kirkland scored and then just over two minutes later another Kelowna goal, this one from Gage Quinney and the Rockets increased their lead to 3-0. The Hurricanes managed to get back into the game when Captain Tyler Wong scored a power play goal, his 4th of the season to cut the lead to 3-1. Before the end of the period the Hurricanes cut the lead to just one when Justin Gutierrez put home his second of the season on another Lethbridge power play. That made it a 3-2 game in favour of Kelowna after 40 minutes of play.

In the third, The Rockets put a little more distance between themselves and the Hurricanes. Gage Quinney scored his second of the night on a power play to give the Rockets a 4-2 lead. Then just a few seconds later, right off the face-off at centre ice, Dillon Dube scored to put Kelowna up 5-2. The scored stayed that way until the Hurricanes got one back, courtesy of Tyler Wong shorthanded. That was his second of the game and 5th of the season and cut the lead to 5-2. The Rockets though finished the game off a few minutes later when Tomas Soustal scored to make it a 6-3 game and that's the way this one ended.

Despite the loss, the Hurricanes out shot Kelowna 42-33. The Canes went 2/2 on the power play and the Rockets were 2/3. The loss dropped the Hurricanes overall record to an even .500 at 2-2.

The Hurricanes next action is Tuesday (Oct. 6) when they host the Red Deer Rebels. The Canes only other game this weekend will be Friday (Oct. 9) as they host Medicine Hat for a second time this season.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Hurricanes Down ICE 5-1

Giorgio Estpehan had three points, one goal and two assists as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the Kootenay ICE 5-1 in Cranbrook Saturday night.

It was the Canes second win in three games to start the new WHL season. In fact the Hurricanes jumped ahead 5-0 before Kootenay broke the shut out bid of Jayden Sittler in the third period.

Estephan got things going quickly in this game. Just 1:08 into thee first period he scored his first goal of the season to give Lethbridge an early 1-0 lead. A minute and a half later the Hurricanes struck again, this time Jordy Bellerive scoring his first-ever Western Hockey League goal and just like that, the visitors jumped ahead 2-0. That's the way the period would end.

In the second the scored stayed the same until the final minute of the period. That's when Brayden Burke lit the red lamp at the 19:14 mark putting the Canes up 3-0 through 40 minutes of play.

In the third, the Hurricanes added another early, a power play goal from Riley Lindgren, his first of the year to make it 4-0 and then just 19 seconds later Cory Millette scored his first of the season as well and that put the Hurricanes in the driver's seat, up 5-0. Kootenay did get one before the game ended when John Martin scored a power play goal, but that would be it. The Hurricanes skated away will a well-deserved and well-earned 5-1 victory.

Lethbridge out shot Kootenay 39-26 in this game. The victory improves the Hurricanes to 2-1 on the season. The Canes went 1/8 on the power play and the ICE finished the night 1/6.

The Hurricanes next action is Sunday evening (Oct. 4) when they host the defending WHL Champs, the Kelowna Rockets. Game time is 6:00 pm MDT at the ENMAX Centre.


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Tigers Down Canes 5-3 in Re-Match

The Medicine Hat Tigers returned the favour Saturday night, beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes is the first-ever Western Hockey League game in the new Canalta Centre.

After the Canes took it to the Tigers on Friday, Medicine Hat was fired up for this game, especially in front of a crowd of nearly 6000 people. The Tigers got the scoring started 6:14 into the game when Max Gerlach scored on a power play to make it 1-0 for the home side. The Tigers added to their lead less than 40 seconds later when Mark Rassell scored to quickly make it 2-0.  The Tigers weren't done there. They'd make it 3-0 with another power play goal when David Quenneville snapped one home. That was it for Stuart Skinner who allowed those three quick goals. Jayden Sittler came in after that, but the Tigers got to him early too. Less than 90 seconds later another power play goal, this one from Cole Sanford. That put the Tigers up 4-0 through 20 minutes of play.

In the second, the Hurricanes got one of those back. Tyler Wong scored his 3rd goal of the season at the 14:41 mark to cut the Tigers lead to 5-1 through 40 minutes.

In the third, Medicine Hat regained its four goal lead when Trevor Cox scored late into an empty net. Just prior to that the Hurricanes had a goal called back. Lethbridge did get two late goals in this game as well. Brayden Burke scored his first of the year to cut the lead to 5-2 and then with 16 second left Russian Egor Babenko notched his first-ever WHL goal to make it a 5-3 game that it the way things would end.

The shots in this game were even at 30-30 for each team. The loss drops their early season record to 1-1. The Hurricanes went 0 for 4 on the power play while the Tigers finished the night 3 for 6. The Canes I don't think were ready for the Tigers in this game, especially with all the hype surrounding the opening of the Tigers new arena.

The Hurricanes are off now until Saturday (Oct. 3) when they travel to Cranbrook to take on the Kootenay ICE. They'll be back home Sunday (Oct. 4) to host the WHL Champions from last season, the Kelowna Rockets.


Saturday, 26 September 2015

Canes Beat Tigers in Season Opener

For the first time in three years, the Lethbridge Hurricanes won their season opening game and they did it in fine fashion.

Newly named team Captain Tyler Wong scored twice as the Canes beat the rival Tigers 5-1 Friday night at the ENMAX Centre. The Hurricanes I thought looked very good in the game. Way more structured on the ice than I've seen thee past few seasons, especially when it comes to the power play.

The Canes opened the scoring in this game with a pair of goals in the first period. Jaeger White, the stepson of Tigers Head Coach and GM Shaun Clouston got things going for Lethbridge when he scored his first goal of the season just over 90 seconds into the hockey game. That gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead. The Canes added to their lead when Tyler Wong scored midway through the period on a power play to give the home side a 2-0 advantage through 20 minutes of play.

In the second the Canes kept rolling. Wong scored his second of the night early in the period. That made it 3-0 Lethbridge. That was the only offence for either team in the period.

In the third, Medicine Hat would get into some penalty trouble and the Hurricanes made them pay. Arvin Atwal scored on a 5-on-3 man advantage early in the period to put Lethbridge up 4-0 and then a few minutes later another power play goal from the Hurricanes, this one from Justin Gutierrez. That put the home team in the driver's seat for the rest of the night. The Tigers came on strong in the final frame and eventually broke the shut out bid for Stuart Skinner. Trevor Cox scored a power goal late in the game to cut the Canes lead to 5-1, but that's as close as they would get. Lethbridge skated away to a well-earned 5-1 victory.

The Tigers out shot the Hurricanes 41-32, however it was the Hurricanes power play which did the damage on this night going 3 for 8. The Tigers finished the game 1 for 6 with the man advantage.

I know it's only one game, but I saw a lot more from the Hurricanes Friday night than I have in a long time and it was great to see. Corey Millette and rookie Jordy Bellerive each had two assists in the game. Both looked very good as did the Russian Egor Babenko. A very strong first game for the import in my opinion. So lots of positives for the Hurricanes after one game. Now they get to do it all over again, this time on the road in Medicine Hat at the brand new Canalta Centre Saturday night. With close 8000 people expected in that building, it'll be interesting to see how the Canes respond to the hostile territory and how Medicine Hat plays in a new building with a very different atmosphere than the old Medicine Hat Arena.