Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes faced elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Championship Series and their season came to an end as they dropped a 7-4 decision to the Regina Pats on Sunday night.
The Hurricanes came out gangbusters in the first period jumping out to an early lead. The ‘Canes opened the scoring 1:43 into the hockey game as Egor Babenko picked off a Liam Schioler cross-ice pass and deked Tyler Brown before sliding it into the empty net to make it 1-0. The ‘Canes struck again on the power play at the 6:56 mark as Jordy Bellerive snapped one high over the glove of Brown to make it 2-0 – Babenko and Dylan Cozens picked up the assists on the goal. Another power play goal for the Hurricanes made it 3-0 as Ryan Vandervlis banged home his eighth of the playoffs from Zak Zborosky and Brennan Menell. The Pats quickly responded as Robbie Holmes scored his second of the playoffs to make it 3-1. Two minutes later the Pats made it 3-2 as Josh Mahura scored his fourth as the ‘Canes led 3-2 after one period of play. Shots favoured the Pats 18-13 in the opening period.
Early in the second period, the ‘Canes added to their lead as just 1:05 into the frame Giorgio Estephan buried his 11th of the post-season on a power play to put the Hurricanes ahead 4-2 – Menell and Zborosky picked up the helpers. It was all Pats after that though. Regina pulled within one on a power play goal of their own by Filip Ahl who beat Stuart Skinner over the glove making it 4-3 before Nick Henry banked one off Menell and in to tie the game before the period was over. Shots favoured the Pats 20-4 in the second period.
It was a chess match in the early part of the third period with neither team wanting to make a mistake. The Pats took advantage of a mistake at the 8:41 mark as Jeff de Wit snapped one over the glove of Skinner to give Regina their first lead of the game making it 5-4. Just one minute later, Austin Wagner scored his 14th of the post-season to make it 6-4 Regina. The ‘Canes had a great opportunity with 1:09 left in the game as Tyler Wong was issued a penalty shot. Wong was stopped on his first attempt by the Pats’ goaltender Brown was penalized for kicking the net ajar resulting in a second opportunity for Wong who missed the net on his second chance. The Pats sealed the game with an empty net goal by Wyatt Sloboshan at the 19:19 mark to make the final 7-4.
The Hurricanes outshot the Pats 11-7 in the final twenty minutes but were outshot 45-28 in the hockey game. The ‘Canes went 3/3 on the power play while Regina was 1/3 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were the Hurricanes overage players:
1) ‘Canes – #5 Tyler Wong
2) ‘Canes – #20 Zak Zborosky
3) ‘Canes – #16 Matt Alfaro
The Hurricanes fall in the Eastern Conference Championship Series four games to two to the Regina Pats who advance to face the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL Championship Series.
The Hurricanes would like to thank Tyler Wong, Zak Zborosky and Matt Alfaro for all of their contributions both on and off the ice. As well, the Hurricanes would like to thank the wonderful fans and sponsors for all of their support this season.