LETHBRIDGE - Three goals in the first period goals lifted the Hurricanes to a 4-3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings Tuesday night at the ENMAX Centre.
The Hurricanes would open this game with a lot of jump and as they came out flying with 3 goals in the first 20 minutes. Less than two minutes in, Michael Sofillas tipped in a Reid Jackson point shot to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. That was Sofillas' 2nd goal of the year. The Canes' would go up by a pair before the game would hit the 10 minutes mark. Austin Fyten scored his 19th of the season off a rebound out in front of the Brandon goal to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead. The Canes' weren't done there. They would go up 3-0 before the end of the period when Max Ross put home his 12th goal of the season. Lethbridge out shot Brandon 17-7 in the first period of this game.
In the second, the Wheat Kings would get an early short-handed goal to get Brandon back into the game. Shayne Wiebe moved into the Hurricanes zone and put the puck past Dylan Tait. That would cut the Lethbridge lead to 3-1. Brandon started to pour things on with about six minutes remaining in the period and had a flurry of chances to make it a one goal hockey game and before the end of the period they would do just that and once again short-handed. Mike Reddington broke his stick while on a Lethbridge power play and Shayne Wiebe stole the puck and moved in on a break-away and scored his second of the night to cut the Canes' lead to 3-2 after 40 minutes of play. Lethbridge held the edge in shots on goal 27-20 following two periods of play.
In the third, the Wheaties nearly tied things up on yet another short-handed chance. Shayne Wiebe moved in on another break-away on Canes' power play and this time Dylan Tait shut the door. That was a big save because the Hurricanes would get another power play and this time they would score to regain their two-goal lead. With Wiebe off in the penalty box, Russell Maxwell scored his 6th of the season to give Lethbridge a 4-2 lead and little more breathing room. That was a big goal because with under three minutes to go, Scott Glennie snapped a wrist shot from just inside the Canes' blueline beating Tait upstairs to make it a 4-3 game. The Wheaties pulled out all the stops to try and get the equalizer, but that's as close as they would get in this game. The Canes' would hold on for the one-goal victory. With the win, Lethbridge improves to 17-22-2-7 on the season for 43 points and now move into a tie with Prince Albert for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. Lethbridge out shot the Wheat Kings 40-32 on the night. The Hurricanes went 1 for 5 on the power play, while giving up two short-handed goals. Brandon finished the game 0 for 3. You gotta give Brandon some credit for battling back. The Canes' had control of this game after this first period and the Wheaties made for a very exciting and interesting finish. Russell Maxwell had a very strong game for Lethbridge and was the game's first star. Associate Matt Kabayama said on the CJOC post-game show that he thought, "Russ was the best player on the ice tonight and his best game in a Hurricanes uniform." Kabayama also felt Michael Sofillas had one his best games of the season in this one too.
I thought the Hurricanes looked pretty sharp in those special jerseys they wore to commemorate the 1951 Lethbridge Maple Leafs. I have to tip my hat the Hurricanes organization for putting all this together because it certainly doesn't happen overnight. The Canes' also brought in the original trophy from the Galt Museum which was on display on the ENMAX Centre concourse for the game plus over 100 family members of the players who were part of that great team 60 years ago all made it to the game.
The Hurricanes hit the road Wednesday and head north to take on the Rebels in Red Deer. This will be the Canes' third meeting with the Rebels this season with both teams winning in their own rinks. Game time is 7:00 pm (MST). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30.
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