LETHBRIDGE - The Lethbridge Hurricanes let a 3-0 lead slip away as they lost 5-4 in a shootout Wednesday night to the Edmonton Oil Kings at the ENMAX Centre.
A great pace to open this game. Both teams played wide-open, end-to-end hockey with only just a couple of whistles in the first 10 to 12 minutes. It was a great start for the Hurricanes as well. They opened the scoring with a power play goal. Max Ross tipped a Daniel Johnston point shot to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead. It was Ross' 11th goal of the season. That would be the only offence in the opening 20 minutes. Lethbridge out shot Edmonton 13-6 in the first period.
In the second, the Hurricanes would keep pushing and would get rewarded with another goal on the man advantage. Cam Braes scored his 15th of season on the power play to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead just passed the mid-way point of the game. The Canes' would add another before the end of the period when Brody Sutter roofed a shot over Edmonton goalie Jon Groenheyde to give Lethbridge a 3-1 lead. That was Sutter's 3rd goal of the season. That would be it for Groenheyde as he was replaced in the Edmonton goal by Laurent Brossoit. Edmonton would finally get on the scoreboard before the end of the period. Dylan Wruck scored on a power play to cut the Canes' lead to 3-1 after 40 minutes. The Canes' held the edge in shots 29-21 after two periods.
In the third, the Oil Kings would rally to even the score. Austin Fyten coughed up the puck at his own blueline and Kristians Pelss went the other way and fired a shot passed Brandon Anderson the cut the Lethbridge lead to 3-2. The Oil Kings would complete the comeback and erase that 3-0 deficit. Not too long after, Adrian Van de Mosselaer back-handed shot by Anderson to even the score at 3-3 and that set up a very interesting finish at the ENMAX Centre. Late in the period, the Oil Kings scored again to take a 4-3 lead. T.J. Foster scored to give the Oil Kings their first lead of the hockey game. Just a minute later though, Lethbridge would tie the game at 4-4 when Cam Braes scored his second of the night and 16th of season to send the game into extra time.
This was the 13th time this year that the Hurricanes have had to go into either overtime or a shootout to determine the outcome of a game this season. The O.T. solved nothing, but after 5 round of the shootout, Edmonton would come out the winners and take the big extra point that was up for grabs. Lethbridge outshot Edmonton in this game 44-33 overall, despite the loss. The Hurricanes went 2 for 4 on the power play while Edmonton finished the night 1 for 3. No doubt a real tough loss for a Hurricanes team that's been clawing over the passed 6 weeks to find a victory. The Canes' earn a point in the shootout loss. Give Edmonton some credit too. The Oil Kings battled back from a 3-0 deficit to earn a hard-fought two points. They didn't fold the tent in this game and kept chipping away at the Lethbridge lead. No doubt a frustrating loss for the Hurricanes on this night.
AT THE HALF-WAY POINT
Well, for what it's worth let's compare the first half of the WHL season for the Lethbridge Hurricanes this year to the the first 36 games of the season last year. With the shootout loss against Edmonton Wednesday evening, the Hurricanes record sits at 12-16-2-6 through 36 games this season. That gives them 32 points and slots them in a tie for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. Last year at this same time, the Canes' had a record of 10-22-3-1 for 24 points and well out of a playoff spot.
The Hurricanes will close out 2010 Thursday evening (Dec. 30) with a game against the Rebels in Red Deer. This will be the Canes' first visit to Red Deer this season. In their only other meeting this season back on November 24th in Lethbridge, the Hurricanes held on for a win in a shootout. Game time is 7:00 pm (MST). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30. The Hurricanes will be back home on New Year's Day when they host Swift Current Saturday night at the ENMAX Centre at 7 pm.
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