Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes played host to the Red Deer Rebels in a must-win Game 5 on Saturday night at the ENMAX Centre and were able to live to fight another day with a 5-3 victory in front of 4,562 fans.
It was an inspired opening twenty minutes from the home side facing elimination. The Hurricanes on their first shift hit a goal post only to see Red Deer turn back on a two-on-one but Stuart Skinner came up with an early glove save. The Rebels had the early lead on the shots as Skinner was busy early but the ‘Canes continued to push. At the 4:14 it appeared that Zak Zborosky had scored his second of the playoffs; it was ruled a goal on the ice but was overturned after going upstairs. The ‘Canes did open the scoring at the 13:58 mark as Alec Baer scored on a rebound for his first of the post-season to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 – Giorgio Estephan, who returned to the lineup for Game 5, and Egor Babenko picked up the assists. The ‘Canes had two power play chances in the opening period; they did not score but generated some good looks. The Hurricanes held the edge in shots 15-9 in the first period.
It was a see-saw second period between the two sides. Red Deer tied the game on a power play as Michael Spacek scored his third of the series at the 4:20 mark tying the game at 1-1. Hurricanes responded to jump back ahead at the 7:07 mark as Zane Franklin buried his first of the playoffs – Calen Addison and Estephan earned the assists. Yet another power play goal by Red Deer once again tied the game as Brandon Hagel deflected home his fifth of the series to make it 2-2. Just 11 seconds later, Matt Alfaro struck for his first of the post-season giving the ‘Canes a 3-2 lead. However, the lead lasted just over three minutes as Hagel scored again to tie the game 3-3. Rebels outshot the ‘Canes 20-13 in the middle frame.
In the third period, the Hurricanes quickly jumped back in front as Zborosky netted his second of the post-season 2:28 into the period giving the ‘Canes a 4-3 lead; their fourth lead of the game. Tyler Wong earned the lone assist on the go-ahead goal. The Rebels pressed looking for the tying goal and pulled Riley Lamb for the extra attacker. Red Deer had a great opportunity to tie, but the ‘Canes were able to score an empty-net goal as Estephan buried his first of the series to give the ‘Canes a 5-3 victory.
Shots were tied 13-13 in the third period while Red Deer had the edge 42-41 in the game. The ‘Canes went 0/3 on the power play while the Rebels were 2/4 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #20 Zak Zborosky – 1 goal, 2 assists
2) Rebels – #22 Brandon Hagel – 2 goals
3) ‘Canes – #9 Giorgio Estephan – 1 goals, 2 assists
The Hurricanes stave off elimination and force a Game 6 on Sunday evening in Red Deer.
(Photo Credit: Cindy Adachi)