LETHBRIDGE - The Regina Pats scored on the only two goals in a shootout as the the visitors came back to beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes last night 3-2.
A strong start for the Hurricanes. Lethbridge opened the scoring when Phil Tot put in his 3rd of season off a save by Regina goaltender Matt Hewitt. That gave the Canes' a 1-0 lead. The Pats though would come back to tie things up. Regina's Captain Garrett Mitchell made a nice move out in front of Canes' goalie Brandon Anderson to even the score 1-1. That's the way the period would end. Lethbridge out shot the Pats 10-9 through the opening 20 minutes.
In the second period, Alex Kuvaev scored his second of the year when he banked a pass off a Regina defencemen and in. That game the home team a 2-1 lead early in the period. Later on, Regina went on a 5 on 3 power play for 1:20 and some great goaltending by Anderson and solid penalty killing and blocked shots by Captain Mike Reddington helped the Canes' kill of both penalties. That was a key point in the game I thought. That's the way the period would end as the two teams headed to the dressing room with the Hurricanes leading 2-1 after 40 minutes. Regina out shot the Canes' 11-7 in that period and held the edge in shots 20-17 after two periods of play.
In the third, no scoring until late in the period when the Pats tied the game. Dyson Stevenson scored his first for Regina to tie the game, which ultimately went into overtime. The extra period solved nothing, so it went to a shootout to settle things. The Pats scored the only two goals in the shootout to win it. Both Hurricanes shooters, Mitch Maxwell and Cam Braes never got their shots off. Brandon Anderson, in frustration slammed his stick on the glass after the game as he headed off the ice to the dressing room. The final game shots favoured Regina 33-28. Power play chances last night: Regina 0/7 and Lethbridge 0/4. The Hurricanes continue to struggle with the man advantage. Lethbridge hasn't score a goal in it's last 30 power play chances. That is one area the Canes' will have to improve on. After going 3 for 6 in the the first game of the season in Calgary, Lethbridge has been skunked with the extra man since. The shootout loss drops the Canes' the record to 3-3-0-2 on the season. The Canes' kind of let this one get away. The Pats kept plugging away and earned a big two points for a team that was desperate for a victory. They deserve some credit too for battling back. It's too bad, because Brandon Anderson played very well in goal for Lethbridge, despite the loss. Hence the frustration he showed at the end.
Before last night's game I asked Head Coach and G.M. Rich Preston if he's still in the market for another forward. He indicated that he might actually need a forward and defenceman to help build a little more depth. He noted it's always better to have too many (defencemen) than not enough. Preston says he's always looking, but he won't make a trade for the sake of making a trade.
The Hurricanes will now turn their attention to the top team in the WHL. The Saskatoon Blades make their first of two visits to Lethbridge tonight. The Blades have the league's best record and will certainly give the Hurricanes a run for their money in this one. Saskatoon has one southern Alberta boy on their team. Forward Lukas Sutter of Lethbridge will be back in town for this one. The Blades have a very veteran and talented hockey team and have been one of the top teams in the Western Hockey League over the past few seasons. This is a far cry from the Saskatoon team which had only seven wins total in the 2003-2004 season. The Blades have come a long way since then and have been one of the WHL elite clubs in recent years. They are lead by Curtis Hamilton and Marek Viedensky offensively.
Game time tonight from the ENMAX Centre is 7:00 pm (MDT). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30. The Hurricanes after tonight, will hit the road next week for three games in four nights in Saskatchewan.
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