Friday, 30 September 2011

Hurricanes Beat Calgary Hitmen 6-5

LETHBRIDGE - Two goals each by Jay Merkley and Brody Sutter lifted the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a big 6-5 victory over the Calgary Hitmen Friday night at the ENMAX Centre.

The Hurricanes would open the scoring on their first home game of the season in what turned out to a wildly offensive period of hockey. Just a few miniutes in, Jay Merkley would get his first-ever WHL goal by knocking home a Macoy Erkamps point shot. That gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. Near the midway point of the period, Calgary would tie the game when Justin Kirsch fired home a shot into the top corner beating Brandon Anderson to the score at 1-1, but not too long after that, Lethbridge regained the one goal lead and then added a little insurance. Juraj Bezuch got his first in the Western Hockey League and then shortly following that, Brody Sutter was sprung loose on the power play and he would score his first of the season giving the Canes a 3-1 lead. Calgary would end up getting a power play goal. Alex Gogolev put a shot over Anderson, cutting the Lethbridge lead to 3-2. Then before the the end of the period, the Hitmen would find the equalizer. Justin Kirsch took a pass from Gogolev on a 2-on-1 and and fired a shot by a sprawling Anderson to tie the game at 3-3. That's how the period would end.
Lethbridge held the edge in shots 18-10 after one period.

In the second, the Canes would get another one and again it would be Jay Merkey finding the twine. Merkley took a nice feed from Graham Hood and put the shot by Michael Snider to give the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead. That would be the rookie's second goal of the night. Right at the 10:00 mark, Calgary would tie the game at 4-4 on a defensive give-away in front of the Lethbridge goal. Jimmy Bubnick stole the puck and put it by Anderson to once again even the score as the Calgary Hitmen continued to stay in the game. The Hurricanes then would get another power play goal to put the home side back in the lead. Brody Sutter put home his second of the night to give Lethbridge a 5-4 lead. Just before the end of the period, in fact with less than a second to go, Daniel Johnston hammered a point shot that was tipped by Cam Braes beating Snider who was partially screened. That put Lethbridge ahead 6-4. The goal went to video review, but it stood and the Canes took a two goal lead into dressing room after two periods. Calgary held a slight edge in shots 32-30.

In the third, the Calgary Hitmen would cut the Lethbridge lead to one when Victor Rask scored to make it 6-5 Hurricanes. That would make for an interesting final 9 minutes at the ENMAX Centre. The Hitmen would come close a couple of times to tying the game once again, but that would be as close as they would get as the Canes would hold on for a 6-5 victory. It was certainly not a defensive game as Calgary out shot the Hurricanes 47-37 on the night. Lethbridge finished the night 2/5 on the power play and Calgary went 1/4. Lethbridge improves to 2-1 on the season win the win. It was a good crowd on opening at the ENMAX Centre as the attendance was 4,706.

The Hurricanes next action is Saturday night when the play host to the Regina Pats. Game time is 7:00 pm (MDT). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30. Prior to the October 2nd game, the Canes will be holding a tailgate party out in front of the ENMAX Centre from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Hurricanes fans will be able to come by and take part in a BBQ and there'll be face painting for the kids, music, and much more.


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  1. great job tonight canes , after 21 seasons in the stands i have taken a year off.but that doesn;t mean that i dont eat, sleep, and breath canes hockey..keep up the hard work and and keep it going.

  2. Good game last night....rink looks great, rookies showed their stuff and veterans played like veterans. Team seems to have more skill and speed than the last couple of years...lots of work to do but a good start.

  3. Listened to the game on the radio and Internet. Sounded like it was WIDE OPEN!! I guess that made for an exciting game. Defense for both forwards and defensemen seem to need quite a bit of work. Heard quite a few two on one's. Defensive zone coverage will be something to improve in tonight's game. (Anyone know about Regina this year?).

    Great to see Jay Merkley produce offensively. He seems to be a real talent. He seemed to be a great skater (technical and speed) when I saw him in the preseason scrimmages.

    Good win for the home crown and the team! Always like beating a team like Calgary that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars more on their team than the rest of the league!

  4. Good effort, youngsters look very good. Erkamps plays much older than the 16 years he is. Merkley looks like a bonafide blue chipper.
    Trouble spots last night, sloppy defensive zone plays/giveaways and Anderson did not look solid.

    What happened to Moline, he only played one shift?

    They will have to do something about exiting the ice at the north end....two guys with a ladder had to stay there all game.

    I know this has nothing to do with the Hurricanes, but the Enamx is charging $2.95 for their ATM withdrawls. Hmmmmmm they are charging more for the opportunity to spend more in the building.


  5. Great first period to watch!

    Saw it similar to RJS in that despite all the really nice saves, Anderson seemed to be far out of position too many times for a tender as good as he is. Hard to fault him in a 47 shot WIN, though.

    What drives me absolutely NUTS about our current coaching staff is that they don't roll four lines for a full game.

    Someone explain this lunacy to me, please...

    (Other than the defensive breakdowns in the first which were not the rookies fault) The Canes dominated the play and shots for the first 23 minutes when Bezuch and Merkley played regularly and were +3 and +2 respectively due to their THREE even strength goals.

    Then, after Merkley scored to give the Canes a 4-3 lead at 2:44 into the second period, we hardly saw him, and I don't know if Bezuch had another shift for the rest of the game.

    WTF!! These two played awesome. They created opportunities EVERY shift they were out, AND.. they weren't a defensive liability at any time!! Was Bezuch hurt? Were they too tired? Too sleepy? They were +3 and +2!! Then WHY the limited ice in the 2nd half of this game?? (Not coincidentally, we were the slower, less energetic team for the rest of the contest and we were outshot badly).

    If the coaches continue this the rest of the season, including against Regina tonight, they will not be giving themselves the best chance to win games. - Richie.