Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes opened the 2017-2018 season on Friday in the Dairy Queen Home Opener win a 5-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers in front of 5,244 fans at the ENMAX Centre.
Prior to the game, the ‘Canes introduced Giorgio Estephan as the teams 25th Captain in franchise history while also naming Jordy Bellerive, Ryan Vandervlis and Tanner Nagel as the Alternate Captain’s. The Hurricanes were still without overage defensemen Brennan Riddle and Brennan Menell; Riddle is recovering from injury while Menell remains with the Minnesota Wild.
The ‘Canes had a strong burst out of the gate using their speed in the opening minutes of the hockey game. Medicine Hat was able to weather the storm and then tried to slow the pace of the period, which worked. The Tigers opened the scoring as Mark Rassell beat Stuart Skinner on a wrap-around at the 15:44 mark of the first period. The ‘Canes quickly struck back however as just 1:21 later Estephan struck for his first of the season to tie the game 1-1 – Bellerive earned the lone assist. The period ended in a 1-1 tie with the Hurricanes holding the edge in shots 15-13.
Medicine Hat struck first again in the second period as Gary Haden netted his first of the season at the 3:23 mark on a defensive turnover in the ‘Canes zone beating Skinner on the blocker side. The Hurricanes eventually tied the game again as Dylan Cozens scored a power play goal with 5:12 left in the period to make it 2-2 – Josh Tarzwell and Jadon Joseph picked up the helpers. Before the period was out, the ‘Canes struck again on the power play as Joseph lifted one over the Tigers netminder Michael Bullion with 3.8 seconds left in the period as the ‘Canes led 3-2 after forty minutes. The ‘Canes outshot the Tigers 14-13 in the middle frame.
Shots in the third period were tied 13-13, but it was the Hurricanes that scored the lone goals. Joseph was awarded a penalty shot at the 13:02 mark in the third period as he was hauled down on a breakaway but failed to beat Bullion. Just ten seconds after the penalty shot, the ‘Canes struck for insurance as Zane Franklin redirected a Brady Pouteau point shot to make it 4-2 – Estephan earned the second assist. The Hurricanes sealed the deal was Joseph scored his second of the game potting an empty net goal with 2:32 left in the hockey game to make it a 5-2 final.
The ‘Canes outshot the Tigers 42-39 in the hockey game. Lethbridge went 2/5 on the power play while Medicine Hat went 0/3 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #23 Jadon Joseph (2 goals, 1 assist)
2) ‘Canes – #17 Josh Tarzwell (2 assists)
3) Tigers – #17 Gary Haden (1 goal)
For the third year in a row the Hurricanes defeated the Tigers in their DQ Home Opener. The ‘Canes and Tigers will meet again on Saturday in Medicine Hat at 7:30pm.