Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes began the final week before the Christmas break with a 4-2 victory against the Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday at the ENMAX Centre.
The ‘Canes began life without Calen Addison, Dylan Cozens and Oliver Okuliar on Wednesday as the three have left the team to attend World Junior camps; Addison and Cozens with Team Canada and Okuliar with Slovakia.
It was a sluggish first period for the Hurricanes who were outplayed early by the Rebels. Red Deer held the shot advantage early in the game as they outshot Lethbridge 11-4 in the first period. The ‘Canes had a five-minute power play after Blake Gustafson hit Nick Dorrington from behind and was assessed a major penalty but the Hurricanes failed to capitalize generating just one shot on the man advantage as the game was scoreless after twenty minutes of play.
Things blew open in the second period as the teams combined for five goals in a span of less than nine minutes. Red Deer opened the scoring when Ben King snapped home his seventh goal of the year to make it 1-0. Lethbridge tied the game when Noah Boyko banged home his eighth of the season to tie the game before Justin Hall scored a beautiful goal just 22 seconds later to quickly give the ‘Canes their first lead of the game. Alex Thacker scored on the power play at the 9:57 mark to make it a 3-1 lead for Lethbridge; Hall and Boyko picked up the assists on the goal. Red Deer pulled back to within one however when Jace Isley scored his first WHL goal to make it a 3-2 game after two periods of play.
In the third period, the Hurricanes staved off a push by the Rebels that included a five-on-three power play for Red Deer for over a minute. Despite great chances by the Rebels, Thomson was able to keep Red Deer from tying the game. The ‘Canes added a late insurance goal with just 1:29 left in the game when Zack Stringer deflected a Boyko shot to make it a 4-2 final for the Hurricanes.
Shots favoured the Rebels 7-5 in the third period and 32-18 in the game. Lethbridge went 2/5 on the power play and 5/5 on the penalty kill.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #19 Noah Boyko (1 goal, 2 assist)
2) ‘Canes – #9 Justin Hall (1 goal, 1 assist)
3) ‘Canes – #30 Bryan Thomson (30 saves)
The win for the Hurricanes was their second straight as it improves their home-ice record to 8-5-0-4 on the season. The victory lifts the ‘Canes overall record to 19-9-0-4 on the campaign as they remain third place in the Central Division.
The Hurricanes play their final home game of the first half on Saturday as they welcome the Calgary Hitmen in the first meeting this season on Ugly Christmas Sweater night at the ENMAX Centre on Saturday at 7:00pm. Tickets can be purchased online at www.enmaxcentre.ca, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre Ticket Centre.