Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes looked to make history on Tuesday night and complete a series comeback as they hosted the Red Deer Rebels in Game 7 in front of a sold out ENMAX Centre.
The Hurricanes, who had never erased a 3-1 series deficit, completed history as they earned a 6-2 victory in the first Game 7 held in Lethbridge since April 23rd, 1991.
The Hurricanes jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a five-on-three power play goal at the 7:21 mark as Brennan Menell buried a point shot by Rebels goaltender Riley Lamb – Zak Zborosky and Ryan Vandervlis picked up the assists on the goal. The ‘Canes struck again with the ensuing five-on-four power play as Giorgio Estephan snapped one blocker side to make it 2-0 Lethbridge just 8:24 into the game – Menell and Tyler Wong earned the helpers. The teams traded last minute goals as first Lane Zablocki scored to pull Red Deer within one at the 19:09 mark before Vandervlis restored the ‘Canes 2-1 lead with his first of two in the game. The Hurricanes outshot the Rebels 13-8 in the first period.
Red Deer picked up their game in the second period as they outshot the Hurricanes 19-8 in the middle frame. The Rebels had a power play midway through the second period in hopes of pulling within one again but it was the ‘Canes that struck. Vandervlis chipped the puck by Rebels defenseman and burst away on a partial two-on-one and centred for a streaking Jordy Bellerive who was able to lift one by Lamb making it 4-1 Lethbridge, the score the Hurricanes held after forty minutes of play.
In the third period, the Rebels struck 2:31 into the period as Brandon Hagel buried one by Stuart Skinner to pull the Rebels to 4-2. The ‘Canes added two more power play goals in the game. Vandervlis picked up his second of the game and fourth point at the 8:18 mark to put the ‘Canes ahead 5-2 – Igor Merezhko and Estephan scored the assists. At the 10:33 mark, the ‘Canes struck again as Menell scored his second of the night, again on the man advantage to give the ‘Canes a 6-2 lead.
The Hurricanes outshot the Rebels 10-6 in the third period but were outshot 33-31 in the game. The ‘Canes went 4/6 on the power play while the Rebels went 0/3 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #21 Ryan Vandervlis – 2 goals, 2 assists
2) ‘Canes – #27 Brennan Menell – 2 goals, 1 assist
3) ‘Canes – #9 Giorgio Estephan – 1 goal, 2 assists
The Hurricanes improve to 4-0 in franchise history in Game 7’s with the 6-2 victory while erasing the 3-1 series deficit to win a series for the first time. The ‘Canes advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2009 when as they will face the Medicine Hat Tigers beginning on Friday at the Canalta Centre.
The Hurricanes will host Game’s 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Tickets for the first two home games of the second round will go on sale on Wednesday, April 5th at 9:00am and can be purchased online, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre and Yates Ticket Centre’s.
(Photo Credit: Cindy Adachi)