Wong Lifts Hurricanes Passed Royals

Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes kicked off a season-long four game home stand in style Friday night earning a 5-4 shootout victory over the Victoria Royals in front of 4,653 fans at the ENMAX Centre.

Tyler Wong led the way for the Hurricanes in the game scoring his team-leading 41st goal of the season while adding an assist and scoring the shootout winning goal. Regan Nagy potted two goals for the Royals in the losing cause as Wong and Nagy were the only players in the game to register more than one point.

The Royals opened the scoring in the first period as Blake Bargar on a three-on-two rush roofed one over Stuart Skinner at the 10:03 mark to give Victoria a 1-0 lead – former Hurricane Carter Folk picked up an assist on the goal. The ‘Canes equalized just 1:48 later as Wong sniped one over the glove hand of Royals netminder Griffen Outhouse to tie the game at 1-1 – Brennan Menell and Brennan Riddle earned the assists. Before the first period was out, Matthew Phillips pick-pocketed Menell at centre-ice and Phillips was able to beat Skinner five-hole on a breakaway with 1.4 seconds left to give Victoria a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes. The Royals outshot the ‘Canes 15-14 in the first period.

In the second period, it didn’t take long for the Hurricanes to tie the game as Alec Baer was able to beat Outhouse with a trickler just 2:38 into the period – Giorgio Estephan and Jordy Bellerive earned the helpers to tie the game a 2-2. The ‘Canes took their first lead as Egor Babenko potted his 20th of the season at the 7:53 mark as his centering pass went off a Victoria stick and through the legs of Outhouse to put Lethbridge up 3-2. Just under four minutes later, the Royals tied the game as Nagy scored his first of two goals in the game before Zak Zborosky netted his 37th goal of the year at the 14:53 mark to put the ‘Canes up 4-3 after two periods. Shots in the second period favoured the Hurricanes 13-9.

The Royals were able to push in the third period and eventually broke through. With Outhouse on the bench for the extra attacker, Nagy scored his second of the night tying the game 4-4 with 1:31 left in regulation. Late in the third period, the ‘Canes were issued penalty that carried over to overtime for the Royals. Victoria was unable to score with the extra man in the extra session.

In overtime, the ‘Canes and Royals each had four shots on goal but neither team was able to find the net for a winner as the game went to a shootout. In the shootout, Wong played hero with the shootout winner as the last shooter of the three round skills competition lifting the ‘Canes to a 5-4 victory.

The Hurricanes outshot the Royals 40-39 in the game. ‘Canes went 0/1 on the power play while the Royals were 0/4 with the extra man.

Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #20 Zak Zborosky – 1 goals
2) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong – 1 goal, 1 assist
3) Royals – #21 Carter Folk – 1 assist

The win for the Hurricanes was their seventh consecutive on home ice and improved their record to 15-1-1-1 in their last 18 games. The victory improves the ‘Canes overall record to 35-16-4-3 on the season.

The Hurricanes continue their four game home stand on Saturday as they welcome the Saskatoon Blades at the ENMAX Centre at 7:00pm.

(Photo Credit: Erica Perraux)

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