Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked off the second half of the season on Tuesday night after an 11 day Christmas break. The ‘Canes, who entered the break on an 11-1-2-0 run, were handed their third straight loss falling 6-4 to the Kootenay Ice.
Kootenay jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 7:27 mark as Jake Elmer pick-pocketed Brennan Menell at centre-ice and moved in and beat Stuart Skinner for his third of the season. Just 1:28 later, Zak Zborosky scored his first of three in the game making it 2-0. The ‘Canes cut the lead in half as Brett Davis beat Ice netminder Payton Lee from a long-range shot to make it a 2-1 hockey game after twenty minutes of play. Hurricanes outshot the Ice 11-8 in the first period.
It was a wild second period that saw a total of six goals, four by the Ice and two by the Hurricanes. Just 28 seconds into the period, Kootenay struck again as Tanner Sidaway beat Skinner of the post and in to make it 3-1. Zane Franklin got the ‘Canes back within one less than two minutes later netting his fourth of the season making it 3-2. However, the Ice went on a three goal run. First, Zborosky scored his second of the game at the 5:19 mark pulling Skinner from the game. Ryan Gilchrist entered the game and gave up two goals in quick succession as Zborosky completed his hat-trick followed by Austin Wellsby scored goals 1:02 apart to put Kootenay up 6-2. Before the period was out, Tyler Wong scored his 22nd goal of the season to make it 6-3 at the end of the second period. Shots were tied 13-13 in the middle frame.
The Hurricanes had a strong third period outshooting the Ice 10-6 in the final twenty minutes. Wong scored his second of the night at the 8:35 mark on a redirect – Igor Merezhko and Giorgio Estephan picked up the assists on the goal. The Hurricanes pulled the goaltender with five minutes left in the game and aided by power plays but were unable to generate any more goals as the Ice hung on to the 6-4 victory.
Shots favoured the Hurricanes 34-27 in the hockey game. ‘Canes went 0/5 on the power play while the Ice were 1/3 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Ice – #22 Zak Zborosky – 3 goals
2) Ice – #4 Cale Fleury – 3 assists
3) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – 2 goals.
The Hurricanes have now lost three straight games, two in regulation, and drop their record to 18-13-3-2 on the season. The Hurricanes have now lost two straight games to the Kootenay Ice.
The Hurricanes and Ice battle Wednesday night at the ENMAX Centre at 7:00pm.