LETHBRIDGE - Two quick goals early in the third period broke a scoreless tie as the Red Deer Rebels shutout the Hurricanes 2-0 Saturday at the ENMAX Centre.
The Hurricanes coaching staff was hoping for a better start Saturday and that's what they got. Despite no goals by either team in the first period of this game, the Canes' played a solid first period, out shooting the Red Deer Rebels 10-8.
In the second, much of the same. End-to-end action and excellent goaltending by Brandon Anderson and Darcy Kuemper kept this a scoreless game through 40 minutes of play. Both teams had some great chances, but the goalies stole the show. The Hurricanes held the edge in shots 25-23 after two periods.
In the third, the Canes' would get tagged with a penalty off the opening face-off and on the ensuing power play, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins slapped a shot past Anderson to break the scoreless tie and give Red Deer a 1-0 lead. A couple of minutes later, the Rebels would go up by a pair. Byron Froese took the puck short-handed and slid it between the legs of Anderson. That gave Red Deer a quick 2-0 lead. It was also the 9th short-handed goal given up by the Hurricanes this season. Before the period would hit the 10 minute mark, the Rebels would put this game away. Andrej Kudrna fired a shot by Anderson while playing 4-on-4 and that would do it for this game.
The Rebels pounded 19 shots on the Lethbridge goal in the third period and ended up out shooting the Hurricanes 42-27. The Canes' finished the game 0 for 4 on the power play and the Rebels went 1 for 7. The loss drops the Hurricanes record to 18-28-3-8 on the season. Despite having just one victory in their past 9 games, the Canes' still remain two points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Swift Current, Prince Albert, and Regina continue to struggle as well. The Hurricanes, Broncos, Raiders, and Pats have 10 wins combined between the four teams in their last 10 overall games. If one of these teams can get a winning streak going, it might be the difference between getting in and not getting in to the post-season dance.
This was a great game to watch and both teams played good hockey. The Canes' played much better compared to Friday when they gave up 7 goals in a 7-2 loss to Prince George. Perhaps they deserved a better fate on this night, but they just couldn't hold off the high-powered Rebels attack in the third. Lethbridge battled hard. Just couldn't find the back of the net. It was also the second time this season the Rebels have shutout the Hurricanes. Darcy Kuemper gets the shutout win and with that, the Red Deer goalie records his 11th shutout of the season. That's two shy of the WHL regular season shutout record which sits at 13.
The Hurricanes will finally get a long rest before playing their next game. The Canes' travel to Red Deer next Friday (Feb. 18). It'll be the Canes' last visit there this season, barring a meeting in the post-season. The next home game for Lethbridge is February 19th when they play host to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
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