Sunday, 4 October 2015

Hurricanes Down ICE 5-1

Giorgio Estpehan had three points, one goal and two assists as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the Kootenay ICE 5-1 in Cranbrook Saturday night.

It was the Canes second win in three games to start the new WHL season. In fact the Hurricanes jumped ahead 5-0 before Kootenay broke the shut out bid of Jayden Sittler in the third period.

Estephan got things going quickly in this game. Just 1:08 into thee first period he scored his first goal of the season to give Lethbridge an early 1-0 lead. A minute and a half later the Hurricanes struck again, this time Jordy Bellerive scoring his first-ever Western Hockey League goal and just like that, the visitors jumped ahead 2-0. That's the way the period would end.

In the second the scored stayed the same until the final minute of the period. That's when Brayden Burke lit the red lamp at the 19:14 mark putting the Canes up 3-0 through 40 minutes of play.

In the third, the Hurricanes added another early, a power play goal from Riley Lindgren, his first of the year to make it 4-0 and then just 19 seconds later Cory Millette scored his first of the season as well and that put the Hurricanes in the driver's seat, up 5-0. Kootenay did get one before the game ended when John Martin scored a power play goal, but that would be it. The Hurricanes skated away will a well-deserved and well-earned 5-1 victory.

Lethbridge out shot Kootenay 39-26 in this game. The victory improves the Hurricanes to 2-1 on the season. The Canes went 1/8 on the power play and the ICE finished the night 1/6.

The Hurricanes next action is Sunday evening (Oct. 4) when they host the defending WHL Champs, the Kelowna Rockets. Game time is 6:00 pm MDT at the ENMAX Centre.


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Tigers Down Canes 5-3 in Re-Match

The Medicine Hat Tigers returned the favour Saturday night, beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes is the first-ever Western Hockey League game in the new Canalta Centre.

After the Canes took it to the Tigers on Friday, Medicine Hat was fired up for this game, especially in front of a crowd of nearly 6000 people. The Tigers got the scoring started 6:14 into the game when Max Gerlach scored on a power play to make it 1-0 for the home side. The Tigers added to their lead less than 40 seconds later when Mark Rassell scored to quickly make it 2-0.  The Tigers weren't done there. They'd make it 3-0 with another power play goal when David Quenneville snapped one home. That was it for Stuart Skinner who allowed those three quick goals. Jayden Sittler came in after that, but the Tigers got to him early too. Less than 90 seconds later another power play goal, this one from Cole Sanford. That put the Tigers up 4-0 through 20 minutes of play.

In the second, the Hurricanes got one of those back. Tyler Wong scored his 3rd goal of the season at the 14:41 mark to cut the Tigers lead to 5-1 through 40 minutes.

In the third, Medicine Hat regained its four goal lead when Trevor Cox scored late into an empty net. Just prior to that the Hurricanes had a goal called back. Lethbridge did get two late goals in this game as well. Brayden Burke scored his first of the year to cut the lead to 5-2 and then with 16 second left Russian Egor Babenko notched his first-ever WHL goal to make it a 5-3 game that it the way things would end.

The shots in this game were even at 30-30 for each team. The loss drops their early season record to 1-1. The Hurricanes went 0 for 4 on the power play while the Tigers finished the night 3 for 6. The Canes I don't think were ready for the Tigers in this game, especially with all the hype surrounding the opening of the Tigers new arena.

The Hurricanes are off now until Saturday (Oct. 3) when they travel to Cranbrook to take on the Kootenay ICE. They'll be back home Sunday (Oct. 4) to host the WHL Champions from last season, the Kelowna Rockets.


Saturday, 26 September 2015

Canes Beat Tigers in Season Opener

For the first time in three years, the Lethbridge Hurricanes won their season opening game and they did it in fine fashion.

Newly named team Captain Tyler Wong scored twice as the Canes beat the rival Tigers 5-1 Friday night at the ENMAX Centre. The Hurricanes I thought looked very good in the game. Way more structured on the ice than I've seen thee past few seasons, especially when it comes to the power play.

The Canes opened the scoring in this game with a pair of goals in the first period. Jaeger White, the stepson of Tigers Head Coach and GM Shaun Clouston got things going for Lethbridge when he scored his first goal of the season just over 90 seconds into the hockey game. That gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead. The Canes added to their lead when Tyler Wong scored midway through the period on a power play to give the home side a 2-0 advantage through 20 minutes of play.

In the second the Canes kept rolling. Wong scored his second of the night early in the period. That made it 3-0 Lethbridge. That was the only offence for either team in the period.

In the third, Medicine Hat would get into some penalty trouble and the Hurricanes made them pay. Arvin Atwal scored on a 5-on-3 man advantage early in the period to put Lethbridge up 4-0 and then a few minutes later another power play goal from the Hurricanes, this one from Justin Gutierrez. That put the home team in the driver's seat for the rest of the night. The Tigers came on strong in the final frame and eventually broke the shut out bid for Stuart Skinner. Trevor Cox scored a power goal late in the game to cut the Canes lead to 5-1, but that's as close as they would get. Lethbridge skated away to a well-earned 5-1 victory.

The Tigers out shot the Hurricanes 41-32, however it was the Hurricanes power play which did the damage on this night going 3 for 8. The Tigers finished the game 1 for 6 with the man advantage.

I know it's only one game, but I saw a lot more from the Hurricanes Friday night than I have in a long time and it was great to see. Corey Millette and rookie Jordy Bellerive each had two assists in the game. Both looked very good as did the Russian Egor Babenko. A very strong first game for the import in my opinion. So lots of positives for the Hurricanes after one game. Now they get to do it all over again, this time on the road in Medicine Hat at the brand new Canalta Centre Saturday night. With close 8000 people expected in that building, it'll be interesting to see how the Canes respond to the hostile territory and how Medicine Hat plays in a new building with a very different atmosphere than the old Medicine Hat Arena.


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Three Canes' Donating to KidSport

The Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club is proud to announce that Tyler Wong, Ryley Lindgren and Carter Folk have decided that during the 2015-2016 season they will personally donate $5.00 for every goal they score during the season to KidSport Lethbridge and Taber.

“Me, Ryley, and Carter had the idea that we’d like to give back to the community in way of giving money to underprivileged kids in order for them to play sports and hockey,” said four-year veteran Tyler Wong who thought of the idea. “We feel so privileged to play here and play hockey every day and we love to give back to kids that don’t have that opportunity.”

While Wong came up with the idea, it didn’t take much convincing for both Lindgren and Folk to jump on board, “it’s always good to give back like that and when Wonger came up with the idea, it was something I wanted to do,” said Ryley Lindgren.

“Tyler came to us with this idea, me and Ryley jumped right along. It’s really the least we can do to give back to an organization like this,” said Carter Folk.
The Hurricanes organization has also jumped on board with the initiative as the team will match dollar for dollar what the three players will be donating.

“Once I heard it, we thought it was amazing that these young guys would step up and do this. It just shows their commitment to this team and the community,” said Hurricanes General Manager of Business Operations, Terry Huisman. “To me, it’s good that the idea came from those guys and it shows their commitment by digging into their own pockets to do it and the least we can do is match it dollar for dollar.”

Wong hopes that it won’t just be the three players and the team that will get on board with this great initiative, “I just hope that any business or fan that is interested in this can get ahold of the Hurricanes and we will accept whatever donation it is, whether it’s a dollar, ten dollars or twenty dollars per goal,” he said. “It’s great to help underprivileged kids in and around Lethbridge and Alberta to get them involved in sports and just to have a more active and healthy community.”

(Hurricanes Media Relations)


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Canes Ready For Regular Season

Next up: The wins and losses start to count as the Lethbridge Hurricanes get set for the start of the 2015-16 WHL regular season.

The Canes had a pretty successful pre-season, going 3-3. They beat Swift Current, and Kootenay twice and lost to the Broncos, Medicine Hat and Calgary. Putting that .500 record aside, I think the main thing to take away from those six games was competitiveness.  The Hurricanes were in every single one of those games and for a team that has been on the wrong side of several blowouts over the past 5 seasons, this to me is very promising.

The goal is to make the playoffs for the Canes. That hasn't happened since the 2008-09 season. Whether that happens this season remains to be seen. This is still a young hockey club, so making the post-season might be tough, but I do believe they will be in the mix for at least the final spot come next March.

The Hurricanes are finally on the right track. They have consistency in goaltending. Stuart Skinner is as good as it gets. Any team in the WHL would give a lot up to get a guy like him. He is the MVP of this team and likely will be again this season, even with a guy like Jordie Bellerive coming up the ranks. Speaking of Bellerive, he's a good as it gets for a rookie in this league. If he stays healthy, watch for him to be at or near the top for rookies in the Western Hockey League. He and Skinner are franchise players, guys teams build around. It's pieces to the puzzle like these two that go a long way.

Now I'm not saying what happens this season is only on the shoulders of these two players. It's a team game. You win and lose as a group. The Canes have a pretty good supporting cast. They will score more goals this season and they will be more competitive. The only concern for me is the defence. That I think is the one area that GM Peter Anholt is going to keep a close watch on this season. The forward group should be fine and the goaltending will be solid for the most part. This is the first season since the days of Juha Metsola and Michael Maniago that the Hurricanes have rolled over both goalies from the previous season. That says a lot right there. Also the performance of the Ukrainian and Russian imports they drafted will be fun to watch as well.

It's taken a lot longer than anyone would've hoped, but I truly feel fans are going to see better hockey at the ENMAX Centre this season from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. All fans want to see is their team work their asses off each game and not get hammered on the score board. That can be demoralizing for the players, coaches, and fans. But the good thing is Mr. Anholt seems to have seriously put his mark on the organization less than year from coming in to the GM's role.

The seasoon start Friday, when the Canes host rival Medicine Hat for their home opener. Game time is 7:00 pm MDT at the ENMAX Centre. The two clubs will play again Saturday, this time it'll be the first-ever game in the new Canalta Centre in the Hat. Surely both rinks will be rocking!


Saturday, 12 September 2015

WHL Pre-Season: Broncos 2 & Hurricanes 1

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Gutierrez Let (roughing), 11:51; Kennedy Let (hooking), 15:06; Schumacher S.c (roughing), 18:56; Pankewicz Let (roughing), 18:56.

2nd Period-1, Swift Current, Arnold 2 (Minulin, Steenbergen), 11:50 (PP). Penalties-Spencer S.c (hooking), 1:21; Schumacher S.c (high sticking), 8:28; Pankewicz Let (hooking), 10:17; Adams S.c (instigator, major-fighting, game misconduct), 20:00; Wong Let (major-fighting), 20:00.

3rd Period-2, Lethbridge, Babenko 1 (Gutierrez), 0:05 (PP). 3, Swift Current, Feser 1 (Spencer), 2:29 (PP). Penalties-Pankewicz Let (holding), 0:32.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Swift Current 11-11-9-0-31. Lethbridge 13-14-13-0-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Swift Current 2 / 4; Lethbridge 1 / 3.
Goalies-Swift Current, Child 1-0-0-0 (40 shots-39 saves). Lethbridge, Kegler 0-1-0-0 (31 shots-29 saves).

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Canes Estephan & Nielsen Off to NHL Camps

The Western Hockey League is proud to announce that 127 WHL players have been invited to attend NHL training camps in September. All of the 127 players attending NHL camps are eligible to return to the WHL for the 2015-16 season.

Of the 127 WHL players set to attend NHL training camps, 81 were selected in the NHL Draft and 46 are free agent invitees or are eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft.

Two Lethbridge Hurricanes are heading to camps. Defenceman Andrew Nielsen is going to the Toronto Maple Leafs and forward Giorgio Estephan will make his way to camp in Buffalo. Both players went in this past June's NHL Draft.

All 22 WHL Clubs will send at least one player to an NHL training camp. The Kelowna Rockets boast an impressive 12 players who will attend NHL camps, which is the most of any WHL Club. In addition, the Seattle Thunderbirds will send 10 players to NHL camps while both the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Portland Winterhawks will see nine players attend NHL training camps.