VANCOUVER, BC - Jaimen Yakubowski scored twice to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to their first victory against the Vancouver Giants in seven years.
The Hurricanes came out the gates like a house on fire in this game. The Canes had five quality scoring chances in the opening few minutes, including hitting a cross bar less than 30 seconds in. Both teams would continue to come at each other and then late in the period, the Giants would open the scoring when Taylor Makin knocked the puck by Damien Ketlo while down on his knees. That made it 1-0 Giants, not too long after the Hurricanes responded to even the score. Cam Braes took a feed on the power play from Nick Buonassisi for his 16th of the season to tie the game at 1-1. The shots were even through one period at 8-8.
In the second, the Hurricanes would keep the offence rolling with two goals in less than five minutes to open the period, both by Jaimen Yakubowski. Yakubowski was awarded a penalty shot after being taken down on a partial breakaway. He would make no mistake beating Adam Morrison in the Vancouver goal for his 5th of the season. That gave Lethbridge a 2-1 lead. Then two minutes later, the Hurricanes would go ahead by a pair. Yakubowski tipped a slap pass by Morrision to give the Canes a big 3-1 lead early in the second period. Vancouver would get one of those back when James Henry scored on the power play, to cut the Lethbridge lead to 3-2 after 40 minutes of play. The shots favoured the Giants 20-17.
In the third, the Giants would press to get the equalizer, but Damien Ketlo shut the door for the rest of the game. The Hurricanes added one more into an empty net, Russ Maxwell scored short-handed for his 7th of the year to seal the game for the Hurricanes. Final score: 4-2 Lethbridge. It was the Hurricanes first win over the Giants since December of 2004. The win improves their record to 11-22-0-1 on the season. Vancouver out shot Lethbridge 30-21. Both teams went 1/5 on the power play in this one. Dan Johnston was a physical monster for Lethbridge in this game. He laid two huge hits in the opening period, although he was penalized on hip check that looked pretty clean to me.
The Hurricanes played a very solid 60 minutes in Vancouver and were very good right from the goaltender out. For their 3rd game in 4 nights, there were no passengers in this game. Despite two losses in three games on this trip, it was a nice week out in B.C. and a nice way to finish things with a victory in Vancouver. I know the players really enjoyed the trip on the ferry to and from Victoria and for a lot of guys, it was either the first time they saw the ocean and for a few others, their first ride on a ferry.
The Hurricanes have three game left before the WHL's 10 day Christmas break. The Hurricanes will play three games in the coming week, all back home at the ENMAX Centre. Wednesday they play host the Calgary Hitmen, Friday the Victoria Royals come to town, and then on Saturday the Swift Current Broncos make the trip to Lethbridge. Once again, Saturday night (Dec. 17) is the Hurricanes annual Teddy Bear Toss game. All fans coming to the game next weekend are encouraged to bring a stuffed animal to throw on the ice when the Hurricanes score their first goal of the game. All the toys collected will be donated to local charities.