(Photo Credit: Larry Brunt)
Spokane, WA – The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked off a two-game Washington State road trip Friday night against the Spokane Chiefs and the ‘Canes bounced back with a 5-3 victory to improve to 4-2-0-0 on the season.
It was the first win for the Hurricanes in Spokane in 13 years dating back to February 12th, 2003. The ‘Canes had lost six straight games at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Tyler Wong led the way with a three point night including two goals and one assist while Giorgio Estephan netted a pair of assists in the victory. It was also the first and only meeting between the ‘Canes and former goaltender Jayden Sittler.
The Hurricanes struck early on the power play as Wong had his pass redirect off the stick of defenseman Kevin Fiala and over the shoulder of Sittler to give the ‘Canes an early 1-0 lead just 2:59 into the game – Brennan Menell earned the only assist on the game. The Hurricanes scored two more power play goals in the period as on a five-on-three Wong netted his second of the period outwaiting Sittler and slipping it home at the 17:01 mark – Estephan and Calen Addison picked up the assists. Just 33 seconds later, Ryley Lindgren scored his fifth of the season – again on the power play – as he made it 3-0 ‘Canes as Estephan and Wong earned the assists on the play. Late in the period, the Chiefs got on the board as Pavel Kousal tipped home his first in the Western Hockey League off a centering pass from Keanu Yamamoto with just 16 seconds left in the first period. Hurricanes went 3/4 on the power play in the period as they outshot the Chiefs 10-7 in the opening twenty minutes.
It didn’t take long for the Hurricanes to build on their lead in the second period as just 1:31 into the period Egor Babenko was gifted a breakaway from centre-ice in and the second year Russian deked out Sittler before slipping it by the outstretched netminder to make it 4-1 Hurricanes. Spokane replied just under three minutes later as Jaret Anderson-Dolan slipped one through the legs of Skinner on the power play to cut the ‘Canes lead to 4-2. At the 7:30 mark the Hurricanes struck again as Calen Addison dumped one in on Sittler from his own side of centre-ice and it slipped through the legs of Sittler to make it 5-3 Hurricanes – that was the end of the night for Sittler as he gave up five goals on 14 shots against his former team. The Chiefs again clawed back into the game as Keanu Yamamoto scored his second of the season, again on the power play, at the 12:24 mark as the Chiefs cut the lead to 5-3 after forty minutes of play. Spokane held the shot advantage 16-5 in the middle frame.
Both teams had some chances in the third period but were unable to find the back of the net. The best save was made by Spokane goalie Dawson Weatherill, who replaced Sittler, as he made a fantastic glove stop on Estephan on a two-on-one. The Chiefs tried their best to generate a tie but Skinner stood tall stopping all ten shots he faced in the period.
The Hurricanes were outshot 33-18 in the game. Lethbridge went 3/7 on the power play while the league-leading Chiefs power play was 2/5.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – 2 goals, 1 assist
2) ‘Canes – #74 Stuart Skinner – 30 saves
3) Chiefs – #9 Keanu Yamamoto – 1 goal, 2 assists
The Hurricanes improve to 1-1-0-0 on the road this season and will look to sweep their quick Washington State trip when they make their lone visit to Kennewick Saturday night at 8:00pm MT as they visit the Tri-City Americans.