Hurricanes Clinch Playoff Berth Despite Loss to Hitmen

Calgary, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes clinch a berth in the 2023 WHL Playoffs on Wednesday despite a 7-1 loss to the Calgary Hitmen at Scotiabank Saddledome.

It was the first of three meetings between the Hurricanes and Hitmen over the next week. Calgary had a great start to the game striking early on a breakaway just 3:44 into the first period as Ethan Moore was sprung in the clear and rifled a shot over the glove of Bryan Thomson to make it 1-0. The Hitmen doubled their lead just over five-minutes later as Matteo Danis swatted a loose puck in front to make it 2-0. The Hurricanes cut the Calgary lead in half with a power play goal that deflected off of Brayden Edwards for his ninth goal of the season; Tyson Zimmer and Blake Swetlikoff earned the assists on the goal. Late in the period, Calgary restored their two-goal lead as Oliver Tulk wired his 22nd goal of the season to make it 3-1 Hitmen after twenty minutes of play. Calgary outshot Lethbridge 20-12 in the first period.

Calgary opened the second period with ninety-seconds left on a double-minor high-sticking penalty issued late in the first period to Dustin Renas; the Hitmen struck with the extra man as Danis netted his second goal of the game – and ninth of the season – at the one-minute mark on a partial break to make it a 4-1 game. Lethbridge pushed to get back in game as they pressed both five-on-five and on a power play; the ‘Canes looked to have a sure goal as Edwards had an open net but was stopped by Brayden Peters on a wonderful stick save to keep Calgary in front by three goals. Shots in the middle frame favoured the Hitmen 13-12 as they led 4-1 after two periods.

In the third period, the Hitmen added to their lead just 59-seconds in when Riley Fiddler-Schultz buried his team-leading 29th goal of the season to make it a 5-1 game. Thomson – who had started nine straight games – was relieved as Koen Cleaver made his first WHL appearance in the contest. Calgary tested Cleaver with a good look in front but the 15-year-old netminder made a good glove save on David Adaszynski. Calgary continued to pepper the Hurricanes as Danis completed the hat-trick at the 8:46 mark on a wraparound that deflected off a Lethbridge defender and in. Danis sored his fourth of the game just under seven minutes later to round out the scoring as Calgary skated to the lopsided 7-1 win.

The Hurricanes outshot the Hitmen 14-9 in the third period, but Calgary held the edge 42-38 in the game. Lethbridge went 1/5 with the power play in the game while the Hitmen were 1/3 with the extra man.

Three stars of the game:
1) Hitmen – #11 Matteo Danis (4-goals)
2) Hitmen – #35 Brayden Peters (37-saves)
3) Hitmen – #15 Maxim Muranov (3 assists)

The loss for the Hurricanes dropped their record to 3-3-0-0 in their last six games as they fell to 14-15-2-1 on the season away from home. The defeat dropped the ‘Canes overall record to 33-24-3-3 on the season as their three-game winning streak to the Hitmen comes to an end.

Despite the loss, the Hurricanes officially clinched a berth in the 2023 WHL Playoffs with the Saskatoon Blades defeating the Swift Current Broncos. It is the seventh straight season that the ‘Canes have qualified for the post-season, which is scheduled to being on Friday, March 31st – opponent to be determined.

Lethbridge will welcome Calgary in the second of the home-and-home set on Friday at the ENMAX Centre at 7:00pm. Individual game tickets are available by visiting the ENMAX Centre Ticket Centre, the Yates Memorial Theatre Ticket Centre, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or online at

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