Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes ended a three-in-three weekend on Sunday with a 5-4 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings at the ENMAX Centre.
It was a high-flying first period that had a playoff feel. Edmonton came out firing early in the game hoping to open the scoring on the road, but Bryan Thomson was terrific turning aside a trio of point-blank chances from Jake Neighbours and Dylan Guenther to keep the game scoreless. Lethbridge pushed back in the back-half of the period and would get rewarded when Justin Hall deflected home his team-leading 16th goal of the season with 2:29 left in the frame; Kade Nolan and Alex Thacker earned the assists on the goal to make it 1-0 Lethbridge after one period. Edmonton outshot Lethbridge 11-10 in the first period.
The teams continued to punch back and forth in the second period as they would trade a pair of goals each. Edmonton tied the game just 1:29 into the period as Neighbours buried his seventh of the season to make it 1-1. Just twenty seconds later, the ‘Canes answered back as Logan Barlage tipped home his seventh of the year to restore the Hurricanes lead 2-1; Chase Pauls and Joe Arntsen were credited with the assists. Lethbridge had another deflection goal at the 7:47 mark as Hall redirected home his second of the night – and fifth in the last two games – to make it 3-1; Arntsen and Logan Wormald drew the helpers. Midway through the period, Ty Nash was sprung free on a breakaway but was hacked down resulting in a penalty shot but Nash failed to strike with the freebie – ‘Canes are now 0-for-3 on penalty shots this season. Edmonton pulled to within a goal as Carter Kowalyk on the rush beat Thomson with a backhander for his first WHL goal to make it a 3-2 game after two periods of play. The Hurricanes outshot the Oil Kings 13-8 in the second period.
In the third period, the Oil Kings started with a power play but Edmonton was unable to capitalize with the extra man. Hall added some insurance for the Hurricanes as he completed his second-straight hat-trick beating Cossa for his 18th goal of the season – Hall becoming the first Hurricane to record back-to-back hat-tricks since Oliver Okuliar accomplished the feat in 2019-2020. Oil Kings struck on a man advantage at the 12:52 mark when Dylan Guenther buried a one-timer to draw Edmonton to within one. The Oil Kings tied the game when Cole Miller scored his second of the season tipping one by Bryan Thomson to make it a 4-4 game. Neither team could break the tie in regulation as the game went to overtime.
The Oil Kings had the best chances in the extra session outshooting the Hurricanes 3-1, but the game would go to a shootout. Edmonton’s Guenther and Neighbours scored in the shootout while Hall and Liekit Reichle failed to strike lifting the Oil Kings to a 5-4 victory.
The Hurricanes were outshot 31-29 in the contest. Lethbridge was 1/4 with the power play while Edmonton was 1/3 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #9 Justin Hall (3 goals)
2) Oil Kings – #4 Kaiden Guhle (2 assists)
3) Oil Kings – #21 Jake Neighbours (1 goal, 1 assist)
The Hurricanes posted a 1-1-0-1 record over their three-in-three weekend while going 2-1-0-1 in their four game in five night stretch. Lethbridge now sits with a record of 14-14-2-1 on the season as they are now tied for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Hurricanes will welcome the Red Deer Rebels to the ENMAX Centre on Friday, January 21st at 7:00pm before visiting the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday. Tickets for the home game can be purchased in person at the ENMAX Centre Ticket Centre on game day.