EDMONTON - Two first period goals helped the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Monday night at Rexall Place.
Despite a strong start by the Hurricanes, Edmonton opened the scoring in this game. Michael St. Croix tipped a point shot passed Brandon Anderson to give the home side a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game. The Canes' would get that one back a few minutes later. Austin Fyten poked home his 12th goal of the season off a pass from Cam Braes to even the game 1-1. Edmonton would regain the one goal lead on a power play before the end of the period. Dylan Wruck put home a rebound off Anderson to give the Oil Kings a 2-1 lead following 20 minutes of play. Edmonton out shot Lethbridge 19-9 in the opening period, after a bit of a slow start.
In the second, the Oil Kings would continue pouring on the shots and eventually they would take a 3-1 lead. Jordan Hickmott scored to give Edmonton a two-goal lead. The Canes' best chance in the period came when Neil Tarnasky put a shot of the goal post. Edmonton would take that two-goal cushion into the dressing room after 40 minutes. The Oil Kings out shot Lethbridge 10-3 in the period and held the edge 29-12 after two periods of play.
In the third, the Canes' would make things interesting. Cam Braes scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season to cut the Edmonton lead to 3-2. The Canes' came close to tying the game a few times, but that would be as close as they would get on this night. Edmonton would hold on for the one goal victory. The Oil Kings out shot Lethbridge 36-18 in the game. The Hurricanes went 0 for 5 on the power play while Edmonton finished the game 1 for 4.
The loss drops the Hurricanes record to 12-16-2-5 on the season. They now trail Edmonton by 5 points in the standings, but get a second crack at the Oil Kings in just a few hours. The Canes' have two victories in their past 14 games. 18 of the Hurricanes 35 games up to this point have been decided by a single goal. Monday night in Edmonton just the latest one goal decision. The Hurricanes, despite being out shot didn't play all that bad I thought. They had some decent scoring chances and had Edmonton's goalie running around at times during the game. I expect them to be a hungry team on Wednesday for the rematch.
The Hurricanes are getting closer to having everyone back healthy again. In Edmonton, the Canes' sat out Phil Tot and Reid Jackson. Head Coach/GM Rich Preston said on our pre-game show Monday that Tot, who was cross-checked in Medicine Hat before the break likely won't play this week. Tot was hit hard and left that game. Preston says he was "banged up pretty good". As for Jackson, Preston feels he's pretty much ready to go, but just hasn't had much practice time in nearly two weeks. Daniel Johnston returned to the Canes' line-up in Edmonton. He's missed the passed few weeks with a shoulder injury after a mid-ice collision with teammate Michael Sofillas earlier this month. The Hurricanes called up Defenceman Adam Henry from Manitoba for the next few games.
The Hurricanes and Oil Kings will do battle again this week, this time in Lethbridge on Wednesday. That will mark the "official" half-way point in the WHL season for Lethbridge. After that the busy week continues with games in Red Deer on Thursday and back in Lethbridge Saturday to host Swift Current for a New Year's Day evening game. Game time Wednesday vs. Edmonton is 7:00 pm (MST). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30.
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