Calgary, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes were downed 5-3 in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series against the Calgary Hitmen at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday.
The Hitmen had a strong start to the game scoring two early in the first period. Ryder Korczak netted his first of the WHL Playoffs at the 3:24 mark as he beat Carl Tetachuk to make it 1-0 early. Calgary struck against just 1:19 later as Carson Focht finished on a two-on-one to give the Hitmen their biggest lead of the series thus far. The ‘Canes had a late power play in the game and had some chances including a Jordy Bellerive goal-post but Lethbridge trailed 2-0 after twenty minutes of play. The ‘Canes were outshot 16-8 in the first period.
The ‘Canes had a power play to start the second period but were unable to capitalize with the extra man. Calgary added to their lead as Josh Prokop scored his first of the series at the 9:01 mark to make it a 3-0 Hitmen lead but just 38 seconds later Dylan Cozens got the ‘Canes on the board with this second of the playoffs to make it 3-1; Taylor Ross and Jake Elmer earned the assists. Before the period was out, the ‘Canes Zack Stringer batted a puck by Jack McNaughton to make it a 3-2 game after forty minutes.
In the third period, Calgary restored their two-goal lead when Focht scored his second of the game beating Tetachuk blocker-side on a power play to make it 4-2. The ‘Canes pulled back to within one with just over eight minutes left as Nick Henry found Cozens in front of the net as he potted his second of the game to make it 4-3. Lethbridge pulled the goaltender for the extra attacker but could not generate a tying goal as Luke Coleman sealed the win with an empty net goal to make it a 5-3 final.
The Hurricanes were outshot 36-29 in the game. Lethbridge went 0/5 on the power play while Calgary went 1/4 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Hitmen – #31 Jack McNaughton (26 saves)
2) Hitmen – #19 Carson Focht (2 goals, 1 assist)
3) ‘Canes – #24 Dylan Cozens (2 goals)
The defeat for the Hurricanes ends their 10-game winning streak dating back to the regular season and thins their lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. The ‘Canes and Hitmen will face-off in Game 4 on Thursday at Scotiabank Saddledome at 7:00pm. Game 4 will be available to be seen at Browns Socialhouse restaurant’s in Lethbridge or heard on 106.7 ROCK.