The Lethbridge Hurricanes are heading into the final week of October, a month this team would rather forget.
The Canes have lost a franchise record 11 games in a row, the most recent coming on Saturday at the ENMAX Centre. Lethbridge battled the Brandon Wheat Kings hard all night longf, but in the end the visitors skated off with a 4-2 victory. The Hurricanes had some very good stretches in that game, but in the end penalties would prove fatal as the Wheaties scored three power play goals en route to victory.
It's been a rough few weeks for this team as it tries to find a way to get out of this rut. Hopefully getting some bodies back from injury this week will help. The Hurricanes expect defencemen Daniel Johnston and Albin Blonqvist to be ready by Friday and we might see goalie Damien Ketlo and forward Phil Tot back as well. The Canes played their last few games short-staffed on the blueline and called up 16 year old Joel Topping from Red Deer on Saturday to help bolster the backend.
This is as tough a stretch as any hockey team will ever go through. There's no doubt it's having an impact of the players and coaching staff. Just hearing the voices of Brody Sutter and Landon Oslanski on the CJOC post-game show after the loss to Brandon was pretty clear the players are feeling frustrated and disappointed. Assistant Coach Chris Chisamore echoed those feelings in his post-game remarks.
I know one team the Hurricanes have talked about during this skid are the Wheat Kings and the way that team started the season last year. They had lost 8 games in a row, won one or two and then dropped another 9 or 10 in a row before turning things around in a big way. In fact, in the last half of last season, the Wheaties were probably the best team in the WHL and nearly took out the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first round of the playoffs.
This week, things certainly don't get any easier for Lethbridge, with two more solid teams coming into the ENMAX Centre. On Friday, the Portland Winterhawks are in town and then Saturday the Red Deer Rebels will pay a visit. The Hurricanes get a few more days here to get the walking-wounded back in the line-up. Hopefully that will make a difference. Something has to give and it would be nice to see things turn around this weekend.
Hurricanes This Week
Our weekly Hurricanes radio show in back on the air tonight on CJOC. On the program tonight, Hurricanes rookie forward Jay Merkley, Hurricanes Business Manager Jim Bradley, and WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. The show starts at 6:00 pm (MDT). Once again we are LIVE from Average Joe's Sports Bar on 6th Street South.