LETHBRIDGE - The Hurricanes let a 3-0 lead slip away, but still held on for a 4-3 shoot out win Friday night against the Red Deer Rebels at the ENMAX Centre.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes would jump out of the gate strong in this hockey game. 13 minutes into the game, the Canes would open the scoring. Phil Tot threw the puck out from the corner and it beat Rebels goalies Patrik Bartosak to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. That was Tot's 2nd goal of the season. That would be all the offence. The Hurricanes had a very good period overall and were quite physical in that opening 20 minutes as well. Lethbridge held a slight edge in shots 11-10.
In the second, the Canes continued to roll. About six minutes in the period, Jay Merkley fired the puck at the Red Deer goal and it was tipped in by Jamal Watson for his first-ever goal in the WHL. That made it 2-0 Lethbridge. The Hurricanes nearly made it 3-0 on the power play, but Bartosak robbed Cam Braes with a great glovehand save to keep it a two-goal lead for Lethbridge. Late in the period the Canes would get one more on a delayed penalty call. Russ Maxwell tipped home a shot to make it 3-0 Lethbridge after 40 minutes. It was Maxwell's 5th of the season. Another very good period of hockey for the Canes. They held the edge in shots 27-18 through two periods and were full value for the lead.
In the third, the Rebels broke the shut out bid for Ketlo when Adam Kambeitz scored to make it a 3-1 lead for Lethbridge. Late in the period, the Rebels pulled the goalie and it paid off with two goals to tie the score. Adam Kambeitz scored his second of the night with just over a minute to go to cut the Hurricanes lead to 3-2 and then with less than a second left in the period, Kambeitz completes the hatrick, knocking the puck by Ketlo to even the score at 3-3. That goal went to video review, but it would stand, sending the game into overtime. The 5 minute O-T solved nothing, so this game would go to a shootout to decide a winner. The Hurricanes would get goals from Phil Tot and Juraj Bezuch and Damien Ketlo stood tall between the pipes as Lethbridge pulled out a 4-3 victory. The Canes out shot Red Deer 37-33 in this games. Both teams went 0/2 on the power play.
You have to give the Rebels some credit. Lethbridge had complete control of this one, until Red Deer made some nice adjustments in the last 7:01 to score three times to tie the game. On the flip side of that, the Hurricanes played maybe their best game of the season for about 55 minutes, until the Rebels turned up the heat. It just shows you can't take your foot off the gas at any point in a game in the WHL. Very aggressive and physical play was key for Lethbridge on this night. It was also Damien Ketlo's first win in goal for the Hurricanes this season.
For the first time is a while, the Hurricanes actually had to sit a couple of healthy players. Adam Henry, Craig Leverton, and Liam Liston all sat out Friday night's game. The only injury the Hurricanes have is Max Moline, who's been sidelined for several weeks with a lower body injury.
The Hurricanes will host the Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday night (Nov. 19). Like the Red Deer Rebels, the Canes and Oil Kings will meet three times over the next week or so. To this point, Edmonton is having it's best season since coming back into the WHL in 2007-2008. Saturday will be the second meeting of the season between the two clubs. Edmonton won the previous game in Lethbridge 5-1 back on October 11th. The Oil Kings will be back at the ENMAX Centre next Wednesday night (Nov. 23) for the final visit to Lethbridge this season. The Eastern Conference is extemely tight at the moment, especially between the top 8 teams. Edmonton currently holds down that final playoff position, but they're just a couple of points away from first place. That's how close things are.