Hurricanes Edge Hitmen 5-4 in Overtime
Calgary, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes spoiled the party Saturday afternoon as they earned a 5-4 overtime victory at Scotiabank Saddledome over the Calgary Hitmen in their Teddy Bear Toss game.
It was the second time in team history that the Hurricanes were the road team for the Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss game. Calgary came out buzzing in the first minute in hopes of sending the bears to the ice early in the game but Bryan Thomson made a couple of good saves early to keep the game scoreless. The ‘Canes opened the scoring taking the crowd out of it at the 3:12 mark when Noah Boyko ripped home his seventh of the season to make it 1-0. The Hitmen had a good look midway through the period when they hit the goal post; while the puck stayed out fans started throwing teddy bears to the ice before realizing it wasn’t a goal. After a brief clean up, the game resumed and the ‘Canes would double their lead with a power play goal as Boyko – who drew the penalty – buried his second of the period and eighth of the year to make it 2-0 Lethbridge after twenty minutes of play. The Hurricanes matched a season-high 19 shots in the first period while keeping Calgary to just six shots in the first period.
The Hitmen pressed to start the second period with an early power play opportunity when Logan Barlage was penalized for hooking. Calgary had a flurry of chances including a back-door one-timer by reigning WHL Player of the Week Sean Tschigerl but Thomson slid across to make one of a handful of glorious saves he made in the middle frame. The Hitmen eventually broke through with the Teddy Bear goal when Cael Zimmerman beat Thomson with a sharp-angled shot to send the fur to the ice. After the lengthy clean-up, the teams returned to play out the second period and right at the end the ‘Canes restored their two-goal lead as Ty Nash scored his sixth of the season – and second in as many days – to make it 3-1 after two periods. Calgary outshot Lethbridge 19-11 in the middle frame.
In the third period, the Hitmen pulled to within a goal just 2:25 into as Billal Noori scored his first WHL goal to make it a 3-2 game. Just 16 seconds later, the Hurricanes once again restored their two-goal lead when Chase Wheatcroft one-timed home his fourth goal of the season, and first since returning from injury, to make it 4-2; Logan Barlage and Ty Nash earned the helpers on the goal. Calgary pulled back to within a goal as Noori capped off a tic-tac-toe passing play on a power play to make it 4-3. Late in the period, the Hitmen pulled netminder Brayden Peters for the extra attacker and Zac Funk tied the game with a wrist shot over the glove of Thomson with 1:25 remaining in regulation to force overtime tied at 4-4. Shots through three periods were even at 36-36.
In the extra session, the Hurricanes would find an early winner just 1:37 into the three-on-three overtime Barlage deked around a Calgary defender before sliding a perfect pass to Nash who buried his first career overtime winner and second of the game to lift Lethbridge to a 5-4 victory.
The ‘Canes outshot the Hitmen 37-36 in the contest. Lethbridge was 2/4 with the power play while Calgary went 1/3 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) ‘Canes – #21 Ty Nash (2 goals, 1 assist, game-winner)
2) Hitmen – #9 Billal Noori (2 goals)
3) ‘Canes – #19 Noah Boyko (2 goals)
The win for the Hurricanes improved their overall record to 9-11-1-0 on the season while improving their road record to 3-7-0-0 this season. The ‘Canes are now 4-2-1-0 in their last seven games. Lethbridge is now a perfect 3-0-0-0 against Calgary this season.
The Hurricanes will visit the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday afternoon at 2:00pm in their Teddy Bear Toss game before returning to the ENMAX Centre on Wednesday to welcome the very same Hitmen. Tickets for the game can be purchased by visiting the ENMAX Centre Ticket Centre, the Yates Memorial Theatre Ticket Centre, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or online at www.lethbridgehurricanes.com.