LETHBRIDGE - Three goals in just over 5 minutes in the second period lifted the visiting Portland Winterhawks to a 4-1 win over the Hurricanes Friday night at the ENMAX Centre, extending Lethbridge's winless streak to 12 games.
A real strong start for the Hurricanes in this game. The Canes had numerous chances in the first 10 minutes of this one as the home team out shot the Winterhawks 9-4 during that span. The Hurricanes were soon after rewarded for their excellent start. Sam McKechnie put home the loose puck in front of Mac Carruth in the Portland goal to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. It was McKechnie's 2nd goal of the season and it put the Canes ahead by one heading into the dressing after 20 minutes of play. Lethbridge held the edge in shots 14-12.
In the second, the Hawks' evened the score at 1-1 when Taylor Peters fired a shot shortside on Liam Liston, beating the Hurricanes goaltender up high. The Canes had two chances to clear the zone on the play, but just couldn't get the puck cleared. Portland then took the lead for the first time, this time shorthanded. Ty Rattie picked the puck up at centre ice and moved in on a breakaway and beat Liston on a nice deak. That made it 2-1 for the Winterhawks. Portland then got another right after. Brendan Leipsic wired a shot by Liston to give the visitors a 3-1 lead. That would be three goals by Portland in a span of 5:40 and the difference maker in this hockey game. Portland held the edge in shots after 40 minutes, 24-21.
In the third, the Hurricanes would do everything but score. They had numerous scoring chances, but couldn't get puck by Carruth. The Hawks ended up icing it with an empty-netter courtesy of Brad Ross. That would make the final 4-1 Portland. The Winterhawks out shot Lethbridge 40-31. For the 13th straight game, the Hurricanes have given up 30 or more shots on goal. The Hurricanes finished the night 0/4 on the power play while Portland was also 0/4. Assistant Coach Chris Chisamore said on the CJOC post-game show that it's not really about what other teams are doing in games, but it's more about what the Hurricanes are doing to themselves when it comes to things that happen over the course of some of the games on this recent losing streak.
The Hurricanes have been battling a serious case of the flu bug. Head Coach and G.M. Rich Preston said before the game the team has had 7 to 8 players out throughout the last week with the flu and two more went down before the Friday game against Portland, both defencemen. Macoy Erkamps and Tyler Kizuik were sidelined with illess, so the Canes moved forward and Captain Cam Braes to the blueline for this game. As for injuries, just one player made a return Friday. Defenceman Albin Blomqvist played his first game in a over a week. Daniel Johnston won't be ready until next week and Damien Ketlo will likely be ready soon too. Phil Tot was also out with a lower body injury.
Speaking of injuries, forward Austin Fyten underwent surgery Friday in Calgary to repair his knee. Fyten suffered the season-ending injury in a pre-season game in Taber in early September. We wish him a speedy recovery. We were told on the post-game show that everything went well with the surgery.
The Hurricanes will play host the Red Deer Rebels Saturday night (Oct. 29). It'll be the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Game time is 7:00 pm (MDT). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30. The Canes will host Everett next Wednesday (Nov. 2) for the final game of this 7 game home stand.
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