Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked off a three game home stand on Saturday with a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Hitmen in the back half of a home-and-home set.
It was a wild first period as the two teams skated to a 2-2 tie after twenty minutes of play. Calgary opened the scoring at the 8:57 mark as Tyler Mrkonjic potted his sixth of the season on a two-on-one rush – Jakob Stukel picked up the lone helper. The Hurricanes tied the game as Calen Addison scored his seventh of the season – Connor Lyons picked up his first WHL point on the goal. Quickly thereafter though, Calgary retook the lead as Stukel intercepted a pass by Stuart Skinner and was able to put it into the empty net to make it 2-1. Just 2:04 later, the ‘Canes tied the game against as Jordy Bellerive pounced on a loose puck in front of the Calgary net to his 26th of the season to tie the game 2-2. Hurricanes outshot 16-12 in the first period.
In the second period, the pace slowed in comparison for the first period. Hitmen took advantage of one of their lone chances as Beck Malenstyn potted his 27th goal of the season at the 14:08 mark – Matteo Gennaro and Vladislav Yeryomenko picked up the lone assists on the goal. Both teams failed to score on power play in the second period. Shots were tied 8-8 in the second period.
Hurricanes pressed hard in the third period in hopes of finding an equalizer but couldn’t solve Kyle Dumba in the Calgary goal. The Hitmen extended their lead to 4-2 as Tristen Nielsen was stopped on a breakaway but gathered the loose puck and centered to Mark Kastelic who beat Skinner for his 12th goal of the season. Kastelic added an empty net goal with three minutes left in the game to give Calgary a 5-2 victory.
The ‘Canes outshot the Hitmen 10-7 in the third period and 34-27 overall in the game. The ‘Canes went 0/1 on the power play while the Hitmen were 0/2 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Hitmen – #10 Jakob Stukel – 1 goal, 1 assist
2) ‘Canes – #2 Calen Addison – 1 goal, 1 assist
3) Hitmen – #11 Beck Malenstyn – 1 goal
The loss for the Hurricanes was the second consecutive regulation defeat – it was the first time since January 3rd and 4th that the ‘Canes have lost back-to-back games in regulation. The ‘Canes are now 43-19-4-3 on the season.
The Hurricanes continue their three game home stand on Wednesday when they welcome the Kootenay Ice at the ENMAX Centre on Awards Night. Tickets are available online, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre or Yates Ticket Centre’s.
(Photo Credit: Erica Perreaux)