Sunday, 25 January 2015

Canes Beat PG Cougars 7-4.

Goaltender Jayden Sittler was clearly the difference, facing nearly 60 shots as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the visiting Prince George Cougars 7-4 Saturday night at the ENMAX Centre.

The Canes got off to a quick start when Giorgio Estephan scored his 9th goal of the season shorthanded to give the home team an early 1-0 lead. PG tied the game a few minutes later when Josh Connolly scored with the man advantage to even things at 1-1. The Hurricanes though regained their one goal lead when Andrew Nielsen scored his 5th goal of the season on a power play to put the Canes ahead 2-1 after 20 minutes of play.

In the second, the Cougars tied things up fast. Less than one minute into the period, Jansen Harkins beat Sittler to even things at 2-2. Three minutes later the Canes power play struck again. Florian Baltram scored his first of two in the game and 2nd goal of the season to give the Canes a 3-2 lead, but again the sea-saw battle would continue as the Cougars once again came back to tie the game on Jansen Harkins' second of the game and just like that the game was tied up at 3-3.  The Hurricanes took control of the game after that with two more goals before the end of the period. Mike Winther got in on the action, scoring his 8th of the season. That made it 4-3 Lethbridge. Then Florian Baltram scored his second of the night and 3rd of the season to put the Canes ahead 5-3 through 40 minutes of play.

In the third is where this game was decided and it was quite the show by goalie Jayden Sittler as the Canes were out shot 28-7 in the final frame. Early in the period, Prince George got back to within one goal when Jared Bethune scored to cut the Lethbridge lead to 5-4. The Cougars continued to pour it on big time, but despite their 28 shots in the period that was the only goal they'd get by Sittler. The Hurricanes added two more goals, one from Kord Pankewicz, his 5th of the season and the other from Tyler Wong, his 19th of the year. That would be it as the Canes win for the first time in six games, ending a 5 game skid. Final score: Lethbridge 7 and Prince George 4.

PG out shot the Hurricanes 58-32 in this game. Lethbridge went 2/5 on the power play and also scored once shorthanded while the Cougars finished the game 1/5. The win improves the Canes to 11-28-3-3 in 45 games this season.

The Hurricanes next action is on the road Tuesday (Jan. 27) in Medicine Hat. They return home Wednesday (Jan. 28) to host Kootenay. On the weekend the WHL-leading Kelowna Rockets come to town Friday (Jan. 30) and then Regina pays a visit on Saturday (Jan. 31). It's a busy week for Lethbridge with four games in five nights.


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Giants Beat Hurricanes 3-2

The Vancouver Giants handed the Lethbridge Hurricanes their 5th straight loss Friday night

Former Cane Zane Jones scored once as the Giants beat the Hurricanes 3-2 at the ENMAX Centre.

It was a fairly close game from start to finish. Vancouver opened the scoring in this one. Former Hurricane Zane Jones made his presence felt in his first and last game back in Lethbridge since being dealt to the Giants a few weeks ago. Jones beat goalie Stuart Skinner at the 6:43 mark of the first period to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.  The Hurricanes got that back before the buzzer, thanks to Tyler Wong's 17th goal of the season on the power play to even the score at 1-1. Vancouver regained it's one goal lead though with just 15 seconds left in the period when Alec Baer scored to put make it 2-1 game through 20 minutes of play.

In the second, the Giants jumped ahead by a pair when Carter Popov put home what would turn out to be the game winner on a power play with just under four minutes to play in the period. That would be the only offence in the period. Vancouver took a 3-1 lead into the dressing room through 40 minutes.

In the third, the Hurricanes would attempt to mount a comeback. Tyler Wong scored again for Lethbridge, his second of the game and 18th of the season on the power play to cut the Vancouver lead to 3-2. The Canes tried to even the score in the final few minutes following that goal but that's as close as they would get and the Giants would skate away with a close 3-2 victory.

The Hurricanes went 2/6 on the power play and Vancouver 1/2. The Giants held a 28-22 edge in shots. The loss drops the Canes record to 10-28-3-3 in 44 games this season. It was also the Hurricanes 5th loss in a row. The Hurricanes get back down to business Saturday (Jan. 24) when they host the visiting Prince George Cougars. Game time is 7:00 pm MST.


Sunday, 18 January 2015

Warriors Blank Hurricanes 5-0

Jiri Smejkal scored twice and added one assist as the Moose Jaw Warriors blanked the Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-0 Saturday night.

Just like the previous night in Brandon, the Hurricanes goaltender was a busy guy in this game too. Dustin Perrilat scored what would actually end up being the game winning goal 6:32 into the first period when he beat Jayden Sittler to make it 1-0 Moose Jaw through 20 minutes of play.

In the second, the Warriors turned up the heat big time, scoring three times and out shooting the Canes 24-11. Jack Rodewald put Moose Jaw up 2-0 with a goal early in the period. That was followed up at the midway point in the period when Jiri Smejkal scored his first of two goals on the night to make it 3-0 Warriors. Before the end of the period, former Hurricane Axel Blomqvist got in on the scoring for his new team, putting Moose Jaw up 4-0 through 40 minutes of play.

In the third, the home team added one final goal, courtesy again of Smejkal. That made it 5-0 Moose Jaw and that's the way this one would end. The Warriors out shot Lethbridge 48-28.  In two games in Brandon and Moose Jaw, the Canes were out shot a combined 105-49. Moose Jaw went 0/6 on the power play and Lethbridge 0/4. The loss drops the Canes overall record to 10-27-3-3 on the season.

The Hurricanes are now back at home for their next two games. They host Zane Jones and the Vancouver Giants on Friday (Jan. 23) and then Saturday (Jan. 24) the Prince George Cougars are in town.


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Wheaties Down Hurricanes 8-5 in Brandon

The Hurricanes managed to scored five times, but it wasn't enough against the high-powered offence of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Peter Quenneville, Tim McGauley, and Morgan Klimchuk each scored twice as the Wheaties beat the Canes 8-5 Friday night in Brandon. The play was very one-sided with most of the action in the Lethbridge zone. The Wheaties ended up out shooting Lethbridge 57-21 when it was all said and done. Stuart Skinner played the majority of the game and was pulled in favour of the Jayden Sittler after Brandon's 7th goal in the 3rd period.

The Canes played the Wheat Kings close on the scoreboard through the first half of the game. Brandon jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead on goals by Braylon Schmyr, and a pair from Peter Quenneville. The Canes got one of those back late in the period when Andrew Nielsen scored his 4th goal of the season to cut the lead to 3-1 after one period. Brandon held a 20-8 edge in shots.

In the second, the Hurricanes came charging back to tie the score. Giorgio Estephan put home his 8th goal of the year on the power play to make it 3-2 game and then former Wheat King Ryley Lindgren tied the game for Lethbridge with his first goal of the season. After that though, Brandon took things over. The Wheaties scored a pair of goals in the final five minutes of the period, both by Tim McGauley to put the home team back in a two goal lead, 5-3 through 40 minutes of play. The Wheaties out shot the Canes 16-8.

In the third, Brandon would keep the offence coming. Former Hurricane Reid Duke put home his 12th goal of the season to make it a 6-3 Wheat Kings lead. A few minutes after that Morgan Klimchuk scored his first of two on the night to put Brandon ahead 7-3. That was it for goalie Stuart Skinner. Jayden Sittler came in for the final 7:43 of the game. Lethbridge managed to get a pair of goals in the final few minutes. Tyler Wong scored his 16th of the season to cut the lead to 7-4 and then a power play goal from Mike Winther right after, his 6th of the year made it a 7-5 game. Brandon though got one more before it was all said and done, Klimchuk's second of the game and Wheaties skated away with an 8-5 victory.

As mentioned the final shots heavily favoured the Eastern Conference-leading Wheat Kings 57-21. The Canes though went 2/4 on the power play and Brandon 0/6. The loss drops the Canes overall record to 10-26-3-3 on the season. They'll play the final game of a quick two game road trip Saturday (Jan. 17) in Moose Jaw.


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Red Deer 5 & Lethbridge 3

The Red Deer Rebels scored four times in the third period to beat the struggling Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-3 Tuesday night at the ENMAX Centre.

Despite the loss, the Canes did open the scoring in this game. Tyler Wong got things going with his 15th goal of the season on a power play at the 8:37 mark of the first period to give the Canes a 1-0 lead.  That goal would hold up as the only offence until early in the second period.

The Rebels evened things up at 1-1 when Rebels Captain Connor Bleackley scored his first of two goals on the night at 1:14 of the second period. Jayden Sittler started his third straight game in goal for the Hurricanes as Stuart Skinner remained out of the line-up with sickness. The game remained tied at 1-1 through 40 minutes of play.

In third, the visitors took control of the game scoring four times to win it. Hayden Fleury gave Red Deer its first lead of the night at 2:08 of the period to make it 2-1. Four minutes later, Connor Bleackley scored his second goal of the night to put the Rebels ahead 3-1. The Canes got one of those goals back when newly acquired forward, Johnny Wesley scored to cut the Rebels lead to 3-2. Red Deer eventually regained its two goal lead when Evan Polei scored to make it 4-2. The Hurricanes though kept battling away and cut back into the lead late in the period, when Carter Folk put home his 6th of the season to make it a 4-3 hockey game. The Hurricanes pulled the goalie to try and tie things up, but Wyatt Johnson scored into an empty net to see the deal and the Rebels would skate away with a 5-3 victory.

The loss drops the Hurricanes overall record to 10-25-3-3 in 41 games this season. Red Deer out shot the Canes 40-25 int his game. The Canes went 1/2 on the power. Lethbridge played a very disciplined game as the Rebels didn't have one single power play.

The Hurricanes have a very tough test ahead of them as they travel east to take on the Eastern Conference's best team in Brandon Friday night (Jan. 16). The Wheat Kings have 31 wins in 44 games. That's the second-best record in the WHL, just behind Kelowna. The Canes will play in Moose Jaw Saturday (Jan. 17). The Hurricanes return home Friday, January 23rd to host Vancouver.


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Hitmen Down Hurricanes 5-3

The Lethbridge Hurricanes let a 2-0 first period lead slip away, falling 5-3 to the visiting Calgary Hitmen Saturday night at the ENMAX Centre.

The Canes got off to a good start in this hockey game when Brayden Burke scored a pair of goals to put the home side up 2-0 after 40 minutes. Burke's first goal came at 11:34. That was also his first goal of the season. Burke then scored again in the the final minute of the period, this one a power play goal to give Lethbridge a two goal cushion through one period of play.

In the second, the Calgary Hitmen came out with guns blazing. Less than five minutes into the period, the Hurricanes found a two goal lead turn into a two goal deficit. Calgary's Adam Tambellini scored at 1:14, beating goalie Jayden Sittler who got his second straight start in goal as Stuart Skinner battles some sickness. That made it a 2-1 game. Just over a minute later, the Hitmen tied the game, when Pavel Karnaukhov scored to even things up at 2-2. Two minutes after that Calgary took its first lead, thanks to a goal from Layne Bensmiller. That made it 3-2 Calgary. The Hitmen kept pouring it on. A power play goal by Jake Bean at 4:25 put the visitors ahead 4-2 and in the driver's seat as well. Before the end of the period, the Hitmen scored once more when Adam Tambellini scored his second of the night to make it 5-2 Calgary through 40 minutes. The Hitmen out shot the Canes 12-2 in the period.

In the third, just one goal, that came off the stick of Giorgio Estephan. That was his 5th of the season late in the game and that would be all she wrote for this one. Calgary would win it 5-3. The loss drops the Canes overall record to 10-24-3-3 in 40 games this season. Lethbridge was heavily out shot 42-16. Calgary went 1/3 on the power play and the Hurricanes 1/4.

Just prior to the game, the Canes announced another roster move, releasing forward Brett Kitt and reassigning him to Flin Flon of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. It was part of a busy day or trades for GM and Head Coach Peter Anholt.

The Hurricanes will close out a four game home stand Tuesday (Jan. 13) when they host the Red Deer Rebels. After that it's on the bus and heading east for games in Brandon against the Eastern Conference-leading Wheat Kings Friday (Jan. 16) ans in Moose Jaw Saturday (Jan. 17).


Saturday, 10 January 2015

Hurricanes Trades: The Aftermath

If you thought the Lethbridge Hurricanes were a busy team when it comes to trading, you have no idea!

I did a little number crunching following Head Coach and GM Peter Anholt's final trade prior to today's WHL Trade Deadline and in the past 16 months, the numbers are quite incredible to say the least.

Since the start of the 2013-2014, beginning with a trade that sent forward Craig Leverton to the Prince Albert Raiders and ending with the acquisition of defenceman Scott Allan this afternoon from Seattle, the Lethbridge Hurricanes have made 30 separate trades. Those deals involved 47 players changing hands between the Canes and other teams involved in the wheeling and dealing and the swapping of 30 draft picks between Lethbridge and other teams in the WHL. The biggest trading partners for Lethbridge have been Brandon and Seattle.

As amazing as those number are, it does not include the number of players that were either released or reassigned.

After I put those stats on Twitter early Saturday afternoon, needless to say, it garnered a lot of attention. Saskatoon Blades long-time Play-by-Play Voice Les Lazaruk chimed in with numbers on Saskatoon's trading activity during that same period, and believe or not, the numbers are nearly identical.

During the same 16 month period, Lazaruk says the Blades have done the following: 31 separate trades, involving 48 players, and 44 draft picks. Only 5 players since the start of the 2013-3014 season remain on the Blades roster today.

Those are incredible numbers to say the least for both organizations. As interesting as it is to watch all the activity, it's a sign things need to be fixed. Let's hope we don't see trading activity like this for a very long time in the WHL.