CRANBROOK, B.C. - The Hurricanes battled back from a 3-0 deficit, but fell a goal short losing 4-3 to the Kootenay ICE Saturday night in Cranbrook.
Just like on Friday, the Kootenay ICE would score early to get on the board first. Drew Czerwonka scored less than two minutes in to make it 1-0 ICE. Before the game would hit the 10 minute mark, Kootenay would jump into a 2-0 lead. Max Reinhart scored on a power play beating Brandon Anderson upstairs to give the home team a 2-0 lead. The Hurricanes had a few chances after that to score, but they were unable to get the puck past rookie ICE goalie Mackenzie Skapski would was making his first-ever WHL start against the Canes'. That's the way the period would end. Kootenay out shot the Hurricanes 14-10 in the opening 20 minutes.
In the second, the ICE would go ahead 3-0. James Martin took a pass off a 2-on-1 rush to give Kootenay a little more breathing room, but the Hurricanes would get one of those back. Max Ross scored his 13th goal of the season from the Maxwell brothers to get the Canes' on the scoresheet and cut the ICE lead to 3-1. Lethbridge would then get to within one before the end of second. Reid Jackson put home his first goal of the year to make it a 3-2 game after 40 minutes in favour of Kootenay. The ICE held the edge in shots on goal 25-22 after two periods of play.
In the third, the Hurricanes would complete the comeback. Mitch Maxwell scored his 13th goal of the season off a scramble in front of the Kootenay goal. That tied the contest at 3-3. Both teams would try to finish the game off in regulation, but we would need extra time to decide a winner in this one. In the O.T., Kootenay would have a great chance to win it after the Hurricanes took a penalty. Lethbridge though managed to kill that off, but with about 1:30 remaining in the extra period, Elgin Pearce drove the Hurricanes goal, beating Anderson for the game winner and Kootenay would skate away with a 4-3 victory. The shots ended up dead even in this game 33-33. Lethbridge went 0 for 1 on the power play while the ICE finished the game 1 for 4.
This was the 16th time this season that Hurricanes have gone into either overtime or a shootout to settle a game and it was also the 22nd game they've been involved in that has been decided by just one goal. The loss drops the Hurricanes record to 17-24-3-7 on the season, but they earn a big single point. That point moves Lethbridge into an 8th place tie with Brandon in the conference and one point ahead of Regina and Prince Albert. The Hurricanes are also within 3 points of 7th place Swift Current.
I have to give the Hurricanes some credit in this game. Things certainly didn't start out well, but they finished the game strong, something that's been a problem as of late for this team. It was certainly a hard-fought point earned. They outplayed Kootenay in the final two periods and for their 9th game in 13 days, it was solid effort against one of the best teams in the WHL.
The Hurricanes will get a few days to rest up before their next game on Wednesday (Feb. 2) when they play host to the Vancouver Giants. The Hurricanes will be welcoming Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe who will drop the puck to open the game. The first 2000 fans will get a Gordie Howe picture when they come to the game and a few lucky fans will be chosen to meet Gordie and get a picture and autograph with him during the two intermissions, so bring your cameras to the game just in case! The Hurricanes players will also wear a number "9" under the logo on their jerseys for that one game to pay tribute to Mr. Hockey. After the Wednesday game, the Canes' will hit the road Thursday and head east. They'll play the Raiders in Prince Albert on Friday and in Saskatoon Saturday. After that, the bulk of the Hurricanes remaining games in the month of February will be at home.
GORDIE HOWE TICKET CONTEST
Log on the the Lethbridge Hurricanes Social Media outlets www.facebook.com/whlhurricanes or on Twitter @WHLHurricanes and let the hockey team know why you want to meet Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe on Wednesday, February 2nd as the Canes take on the Vancouver Giants! The Hurricanes have a prize of two tickets to the game and a Grand Prize which includes two tickets to the game and a Meet and Greet pass for one to meet Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe himself!
MAPLE LEAFS JERSEY AUCTION
The on-line jersey auction for those special Lethbridge Maple Leafs jerseys which the Hurricanes wore earlier this week closed at noon on Saturday. A total of 355 bids were placed by 91 different people. Some of those bids came as far away as Ontario and New York. Max Ross's number 15 jersey went for the highest bid of $1000. That was Nap Milroy's old number by the way when he played with the 1951 Maple Leafs. Russ Maxwell's jersey went for for the second highest bid at $725 and Alex Kuvaev's jersey went for $675. Michael Sofillas's jersey went for $650 and Brandon Anderson's for $605. Those were just the top five bids overall. All the money raised goes to the Lethbridge Hurricanes On-side Committee.
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