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Hurricans Fall 7-4 to Thunderbirds

Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes continued their season long seven game home-stand on Sunday as they hosted the Seattle Thunderbirds in hopes of winning their fourth straight game but it was not too be as the T-Birds earned a 7-4 victory.

Hurricanes back-up goaltender Reece Klassen made his first Western Hockey League start in the game and was peppered early facing 14 shots in the first period, eventually ending the night with a total of 25 saves in the losing cause.

There was fireworks right away in the game as just eight seconds into the first period Zane Franklin and Blake Bargar dropped the mitts in a spirited tilt. The ‘Canes fed off the fight and were able to open the scoring as Ryan Vandervlis beat the Thunderbirds goalie Liam Hughes between the legs for his fourth of the season just 1:33 into the game; Egor Zudilov and Jordy Bellerive picked up the helpers as Vandervlis scored for the fourth straight game. The lead didn’t last long as Nolan Volcan tied the game potting a rebound beating Klassen to make it 1-1. The ‘Canes retook the lead at the 9:24 mark as Josh Tarzwell had a puck bounce off him and deflect into the net to put Lethbridge up 2-1 after twenty minutes of play. The T-Birds led the shots 14-9 in the first period.

The wheels fell off the ‘Canes in the second period as the Thunderbirds struck for four goals on nine shots. Seattle tied the game 2-2 just 1:07 into the period as Donovan Neuls sniped his third of the season. Just 1:29 later, the T-Birds took their first lead of the game as Sami Moilanen back-handed one by Klassen to put Seattle up 3-2. Zack Andrusiak scored his first of two in the period at the 12:37 mark before netting his second on a power play with 3:56 left in the period as the Thunderbirds held a 5-2 lead after forty minutes of play. The ‘Canes were outshot 9-4 in the middle frame.

In the third period, the T-Birds continued to pour it on as Turner Ottenbreit scored his first of the season on a power play at the 6:24 mark to make it 6-2 Seattle. The ‘Canes answered with a power play goal of their own as Giorgio Estephan beat Hughes five-hole on a one-timer to cut the lead in half; Tate Olson and Zudilov picked up the helpers on the goal. The ‘Canes made it a 6-4 game as Vandervlis potted his second of the night and fifth of the year with 1:51 left in the game only to have Andrusiak complete his hat-trick with 38 seconds left in the game to make it a 7-4 final.

The ‘Canes were outshot 9-8 in the third period and 32-21 in the game. The ‘Canes were 1/3 on the power play while the T-Birds were 3/4 with the extra man.

Three stars of the game were:
1) T-Birds – #20 Zack Andrusiak (3 goals, 1 assist)
2) T-Birds – #18 Sami Moilanen (1 goal, 1 assist)
3) ‘Canes – #21 Ryan Vandervlis (2 goals)

The Hurricanes three game winning streak comes to an end with the loss as their home-ice record falls to 6-3-0-0 and their overall record to 7-6-0-0 on the season.

The ‘Canes are back in action on Wednesday when they welcome the Saskatoon Blades in the first of four meetings on the season between the two. Tickets for Wednesday’s game are available online, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre Ticket Centre.

(Photo Credit: Cindy Adachi)

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