Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes had their 2021-2022 season come to a close on Thursday at the ENMAX Centre with a 6-4 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings in Game 4 of their first-round best-of-seven series.
The Hurricanes, who were facing elimination, came out desperate to open the game and took their first lead of the series just 1:03 into the contest when Alex Thacker buried a loose puck in the crease to make it a 1-0 Lethbridge lead; Yegor Klavdiev and Joe Arntsen earned the assists on the opening goal. Edmonton pushed back as Dylan Guenther struck for the fourth time in the series at the 5:25 mark as he beat Bryan Thomson with a shot that went off the post, then off the goaltender, and into the net to make it a 1-1 tie. Before the first period was out, the Hurricanes pulled back in front when Arntsen buried his first career post-season goal rifling a snap shot over the blocker of Sebastian Cossa to give Lethbridge a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes of play; Jett Jones and Ty Nash were credited with the helpers on the goal. The Oil Kings outshot the Hurricanes 13-6 in the first period.
Edmonton pushed to open the second period as they found and equalizer just 5:16 in when Carter Souch knocked a rebound out of the air and in on the power play to make it a 2-2 game. The Oil Kings took their first lead of Game 4 when Dawson Seitz snapped home a puck from the right wing to make it 3-2. However, just 2:01 later, the Hurricanes tied the game on a seeing-eye shot from the left circle by Tyson Laventure who tied the game 3-3 after two periods. Edmonton held the edge in shots 17-7 in the second period.
In the third period, the Oil Kings outshot the ‘Canes 17-6 and once again pulled ahead as Tyler Horstmann – who made his series debut – threw a puck to the net that deflected off the defender and in to make it a 4-3 game. The Hurricanes pressed late in the period and caught the Oil Kings on a change with an odd-man rush; after a Klavdiev shot was stopped by Cossa, Justin Hall banged home the loose puck for his first goal of the series tying the game 4-4 with just 4:43 remaining in regulation. On the ensuing shift after the equalizing goal, the Hurricanes Nash was penalized for a board and on the man advantage Josh Williams cashed on a rebound to give Edmonton a 5-4 lead; jumping back in front just 40-seconds after the Hurricanes tied the game. Lethbridge pulled the goaltender for the extra attacker and with 10-seconds left in the game, Jakub Demek slid home his first of the post-season to make it a 6-4 final.
The Hurricanes were outshot 47-17 in the contest. Edmonton went 2/4 on the power play while Lethbridge didn’t have an opportunity with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were the Hurricanes overage players:
1) ‘Canes – #9 Justin Hall (1 goal)
2) ‘Canes – #10 Kade Nolan
3) ‘Canes – #16 Corson Hopwo
The loss for the Hurricanes ends their season as they have been eliminated from the WHL Playoffs. It is the first time since 2009 that the ‘Canes have been swept in a post-season series. The first-round loss was the second-straight first-round exit for the Hurricanes after falling in seven games in 2019 to the Calgary Hitmen.