Hurricanes Edge Wheaties 4-3
Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes wrapped up a season long four game home stand on Friday night as they picked up a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in front of 4,090 fans at the ENMAX Centre.
The Hurricanes started the game with a bang as Giorgio Estephan sniped one by Wheat Kings goaltender Logan Thompson just 1:16 into the game for his 27th goal of the season and first in eight games to make it 1-0 Lethbridge – Brennan Menell and Alec Baer picked up the helpers. The Wheat Kings tied the game at 1-1 as Nolan Patrick beat Stuart Skinner with a power play goal at the 5:37 mark. Just under two minutes later, the ‘Canes restored their lead as Zak Zborosky flipped a puck to the goal that Thompson misplayed resulting in Zborosky’s 39th of the season making it 2-1 Lethbridge – Tyler Wong picked up the lone assist. At the 17:10 mark, the ‘Canes struck again as Matt Alfaro buried his 19th of the year to make it 3-1 – Wong and Brady Pouteau earned the helpers. The ‘Canes outshot the Wheat Kings 13-10 in the first period.
The second period was a period of chances but no goals. Early in the middle frame the ‘Canes had a great opportunity as Jadon Joseph swatted a backhand shot off the crossbar. Quickly thereafter, the Wheaties had a two-on-one opportunity with Patrick and Stelio Mattheos but Skinner came across left to right to rob Mattheos. Brandon had another great look as a puck snuck through Skinner and laid on the goal line before Ty Prefontaine swept it off the line. The ‘Canes outshot the Wheat Kings 10-9 in the second period and held the edge 23-19 thru two periods.
In the third period, the Hurricanes made it a 4-1 lead as Alfaro potted his second of the night on a give-and-go with Zborosky at the 10:14 mark as Alfaro became the sixth ‘Cane to reach the 20-goal plateau this season – Igor Merezhko picked up the second assist on the goal. The ‘Canes ran into penalty trouble late in the game and the Wheat Kings took advantage as Ty Lewis potted his 28th of the season with the extra man at the 14:17 mark to make it 4-2. Another power play goal for the Wheat Kings just over three minutes later pulled the game to a 4-3 score as Ty Coulter beat Skinner. The Wheaties pulled the goalie but could not tie the game as the ‘Canes held on to the one-goal victory.
The Hurricanes outshot the Wheat Kings 13-9 in the third period and 36-28 in the game. The ‘Canes went 0/3 on the power play while Brandon was 3/5 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #16 Matt Alfaro – 2 goals
2) Wheat Kings – #14 Ty Lewis – 1 goal, 2 assists
3) ‘Canes – #9 Giorgio Estephan – 1 goal
The Hurricanes improve to 37-17-4-3 on the season with the victory and take three out of four on a season long four game home stand. The ‘Canes are now 17-2-1-1 in their last 21 games and 18-1-1-1 in their last 21 games on home ice.
The ‘Canes will kick off a five game road trip on Saturday in Cranbrook as they visit the Kootenay Ice before traveling East to face Regina, Brandon, Prince Albert and Saskatoon.
(Photo Credit: Colin Moreland)