Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes wrapped up the 2016-2017 regular season with a wild 8-7 loss in Medicine Hat against the Tigers.
It was a quick start for the Tigers who jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 34 seconds into the hockey game as Steven Owre beat Stuart Skinner five-hole to give Medicine Hat an early lead. The Hurricanes answered to tie the game as Tyler Wong finally potted his 50th goal of the season as he beat Michael Bullion with a beautiful goal to make it 1-1 – Giorgio Estephan and Brennan Menell picked up the assists – Wong becomes the first Hurricane to score 50-or-more goals in a single season since Shane Willis scored 58 in 1997-1998. Tigers retook the lead at the 10:56 mark as Brad Forrest scored his third of the year while four-on-four. ‘Canes once again tied the game as Calen Addison was able to jam a puck home on a goal-mouth scramble to make it 2-2. Lethbridge took their first lead as Ryan Vandervlis netted his eighth of the season to give the ‘Canes a 3-2 lead – Egor Babenko and Wong earned the helpers. The ‘Canes held the lead after one period but were outshot 20-15 in the opening frame.
The craziness continued in the second period. The Tigers made a goaltending change to start the second period as Duncan McGovern replaced Bullion. The change sparked Medicine Hat as they tied the game 3-3 just 35 seconds into the period as Mason Shaw beat Skinner. Less than two minute later, the Tigers retook the lead as Max Gerlach beat Skinner over the glove to put Medicine Hat up 4-3; Skinner was lifted in favour of Adam Swan as Skinner allowed four goals on 24 shots. Just 1:23 later, The Hurricanes tied the game back up as Tanner Nagel sniped home his 10th of the season on a solo rush beating McGovern with a shot over the glove. The see-saw battled continued as James Hamblin scored his first of two in the game to put the Tigers ahead 5-4 but the lead was short-lived again as Alec Baer scored his 15th goal of the season as he tied it back up 5-5. With 2:10 left in the period, the ‘Canes took the lead as Wong followed up a dead play to rifle home his 51st goal of the season and second of the night putting the ‘Canes up 6-5 after forty minutes. Tigers outshot the ‘Canes 14-11 in the second period.
In the third period, the Tigers once again tied the game 4:59 into the frame as Mark Rassell scored a power play goal right off a faceoff as the game was tied back up 6-6. Just 21 seconds after Rassell tied the game, the ‘Canes once again pulled ahead as Egor Babenko ripped home his 24th goal of the season to give the Hurricanes a 7-6 advantage. Just over three minutes later Tigers tied the game again as Hamblin scored his second of the night to tie the game 7-7. The Tigers were given yet another power play and they made good on it as David Quenneville buried a one-timer passed Swan for his 23rd of the season and an 8-7 lead. The Hurricanes pushed hard in the dying minutes with the goaltender pulled. Both Wong and Bellerive had great chances but the puck failed to cross the line as the Tigers hung on for the wild 8-7 victory.
The Hurricanes held the shot advantage 12-11 in the third period, but the Tigers outshot the ‘Canes 45-38 in the game. The ‘Canes went 0/2 on the power play while the Tigers went 3/5 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Tigers – #11 Steven Owre – 1 goal, 3 assists
2) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – 2 goals, 2 assists
3) Tigers – #10 James Hamblin – 2 goals, 1 assists
The Hurricanes finish the regular season having lost four of their last five games to end the year with a 44-21-4-3 record on the season. The Hurricanes finish 19-13-2-2 on the road and 25-8-2-1 on home ice.
The ‘Canes will begin the 2017 WHL Playoffs on Saturday, March 25th in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series with the Red Deer Rebels. Playoff tickets are available online, by calling 403-329-SEAT or by visiting the ENMAX Centre or Yates Ticket Centre’s.