LETHBRIDGE - Some key secondary scoring helped the Lethbridge Hurricanes put the breaks to a six game losing streak as they beat the Regina Pats 6-2 Wednesday night.
The Hurricanes would draw first blood in this all-important match-up at the ENMAX Centre. Less than four minutes in, Brody Sutter hammered home his 9th goal of the season to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. The Canes' would jump ahead 2-0 before the end of the period. Neil Tarnasky took a pass from Ryon Moser and put the puck past Matt Hewitt to give Lethbridge a two goal lead. That would be Tarnasky's 3rd goal of the season. That's the way the period would finish. The Canes' out shot Regina 8-9 in the opening 20 minutes of this game.
In the second, the Pats would get to within one with a power play goal early in the period. Regina's Tanner Olstad fired a shot by Brandon Anderson to cut the Lethbridge lead to 2-1. Before the second period would come to a close, the Hurricanes would get back their two-goal lead. The Hurricanes would crash the Regina goal and Michael Sofillas would get credit for his 3rd goal of the season. That would put the Canes' into a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes. The Pats held the slight edge in shots 19-17.
In the third, the Canes' would add to their lead. This time it was Phil Tot getting in on the scoring. Tot would score his 6th goal off a nice back-hander to give Lethbridge a 4-1 lead early in the period. The Pats would once again cut the Hurricanes lead in half. Just as a Regina power play ended, Mark Schneider wired a point shot past Anderson to make it a 4-2 lead in favour of Lethbridge with just under 6 minutes left in the 3rd period, but before the game would come to a close, Mitch Maxwell would score a highlight reel goal, undressing the Pats defence and scoring his 16th of the season to make it a 5-2 game. Cam Braes would finish things off into an empty net for his team-leading 27th of the season to ice the game and the Hurricanes would go on to win the contest 6-2. The Pats out shot Lethbridge 32-23 on night. The Hurricanes went 0 for 1 on the man advantage while the Pats went 1 for 6.
With the win, the Hurricanes move to within two points of the 7th place Swift Current Broncos and 8th place Prince Albert Raiders who are tied 49 points in the Eastern Conference standings. The Canes' ended a six game losing skid as well Wednesday and improve their record to a 18-26-3-8 on the season with 47 points. Lethbridge saw six different players score in this game and the team received some very key secondary scoring on the night with goals from Sofillas, Tot, and Tarnasky finding the back of the net. All-in-all it was a solid team effort by Lethbridge and a well-deserved win. Brandon Anderson had a very good game in goal.
Head Coach and G.M. Rich Preston was very candid on the CJOC pre-game Wednesday night about the importance of these final games. Preston said these home games during the month of February will likely be the "tell-tale sign" for Lethbridge this season. He says if this team can't make any hay on home-ice this month, we "don't deserve to make the playoffs." Wednesday's effort and victory over the Pats was a good start.
ENMAX FAMILY SKATE THIS SUNDAY
Just a reminder that the ENMAX Family Skate with the Lethbridge Hurricanes takes place on Sunday (Feb. 13). The event will go from 4:15 pm to 7:15 pm. This is a FREE family skate and the first 100 guests receive a free hot dog and drink. You are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for a the food bank. All children under 12 years old must wear a helmet.
The Hurricanes host the Prince George Cougars on Friday. This will be P.G's second and final visit to Lethbridge this season. The Hurricanes won the only other meeting way back on October 8th. The Cougars are probably the most improved team in the WHL this season, going from literally the bottom of the standings last year to right into the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference this season. Game time from the ENMAX Centre is is 7:00 pm (MST). The Canes' welcome Red Deer on Saturday.
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