LETHBRIDGE - Three power plays goals were the difference as the Brandon Wheat Kings handed the Hurricanes their 11th straight loss, beating the Canes 4-2 Saturday night at the ENMAX Centre.
The Wheat Kings stuck early in this game. Just 53 seconds in, Mark Stone blew a rocket slapper by Liam Liston to make it 1-0 Brandon. It was a power play goal for the WHL's top team on the man advantage as the Wheaties came into this game clicking at 34.1% on the power play. After that though, the home side would take over. Just a couple of minutes later the Hurricanes tied the score. A bad giveaway by the Wheat Kings in their own zone resulted in a goal by Brody Sutter, his 6th of the season. That evened the score at 1-1. That goal gave the Hurricanes some life. Shortly after that, the Hurricanes put one off the crossbar, another off the goal post, and another called off by the referee. The Canes would keep pressing and eventually got the go-ahead marker courtesy of Nick Buonassisi, his 3rd of the season and first as a Lethbridge Hurricane. It was maybe the best period hockey the Hurricanes have played this season as they out shot the Wheaties 20-9.
In the second, the Wheaties found the equalizer with another power play goal. Tyrel Seaman fired a low shot past a screened Liam Liston to even the score at 2-2. Brandon made some big adjustments after being outplayed in the first and showed in their play. They out shot Lethbridge 18-6 and got the only goal in the period to tie the game heading into the dressing room after 40 minutes of play. The shots after the second favoured Brandon 27-26.
In the third, it was back and forth and was up for grabs until late in the game when the Wheat Kings would get another power play and they would make good again. Jason Swyripa burst down the left wing and lifted a shot over the shoulder of Liston for the game winner. Brandon would add a shorthanded goal into an empty goal to make the final 4-2 Wheaties. The Hurricanes played well in this game and probably deserved a better fate, but it wouldn't happen on this night. The Canes have now lost 11 in a row as their record drops at 2-11-0-1 on the season. The power plays finished like this: Brandon 3 for 7 and Lethbridge 0 for 3. That was the difference. The Wheat Kings special teams won the game with three power play goals and one shorthanded.
Some people have been asking us what the longest losing streak has been in Hurricanes history. After Freddie did a little digging, the answer is this one. Prior to losing their 10th straight on Friday, the longest streak without a win for this team was 9 consecutive in the 2008-2009 and the 2009-2010 seasons according to the Western Hockey League website which goes back about 14 years with this data.
The Hurricanes brought up 16 year old defenceman Joel Topping from Midget "AAA" in Red Deer Saturday night. It was Topping's second game with the Hurricanes in the past week. Given the fact the team only had five regular defenceman because of injuries, the call-up was needed. Daniel Johnston, Albin Blomqvist, Phil Tot, and Damien Ketlo were all scratched for Lethbridge in the Brandon game. The hope is all four will be back in the line-up next weekend. Brandon Anderson did not play for the Wheat Kings against his former team, but Brandon Head Coach Cory Clouston told us before the game that Anderson will get a chance to play against Lethbridge later on this season.
The Hurricanes have a few days off before they hit the ice again for their next action. Lethbridge will welcome their first of five U.S. Division teams to town when they host the Portland Winterhawks on Friday (Oct. 28). It'll be the first an only meeting of the season between these two teams. Next Saturday the Canes will play host to the Red Deer Rebels. That will close out the Hurricanes October portion of the schedule. Game time both nights from the ENMAX Centre is 7:00 pm (MDT)
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