CRANBROOK, BC - The Hurricanes play a good game and had several great scoring chances, but ran into a hot goalie, dropping a 4-2 decision to the Kootenay ICE Tuesday night, ending a four game winning streak.
Not the start the Hurricanes were looking for in this game. Just over two minutes in, Jagger Dirk wired a slap shot by Damien Ketlo to give the ICE an early 1-0 lead. The Canes settled down quite nicely after that goal and had some great scoring chances as the period moved on and finally in the late stages, they would get rewarded for their efforts. Russ Maxwell picked off the puck on a bad defensive giveaway by the ICE in their own zone. His shot was stopped, but Jamal Watson followed up on the rebound and scored his 3rd of the season by Kootenay goalie Mackenzie Skapski to tie the game at 1-1. That's the way the period would end. Lethbridge held the edge in shots 10-8.
In the second, the ICE would regain their one goal lead with an early goal. Brock Montgomery's shot beat Ketlo to give Kootenay a 2-1 lead. That lead held up throughout the rest of the period. The Canes had some solid chances, including a breakaway by Russ Maxwell, but Mackenzie Skapski was very good between the pipes for the ICE stopping that shot and the 7 others he faced in that period. The ICE would take that one goal lead into the final period. Lethbridge held the edge in shots 18-16 through 40 minutes of play.
In the third, the Canes would press hard to find that tying goal but it would be the Kootenay ICE who would get the next one. Joe Antilla slid the puck low along the ice, beating a surprised Ketlo on the glove side to give Kootenay a 3-1 lead. The ICE would then get one more when Drew Czerwonka scored to increase the home team's lead to 4-1. That pretty much did it. Lethbridge would get a late one before the game would end, when Brody Sutter scored on the power play for his 16th of the year in the dying seconds. That cut the lead to 4-2, but that's as close as the Hurricanes would get on this night. The loss put an end to the Canes four game winning streak, dropping their record to 14-23-0-1 on the season. There were plenty of power play chances in what was a very physical and chippy game at times. Lethbridge finished 1 for 9 and Kootenay ICE went 0 for 6. Kootenay slightly out shot the Hurricanes 30-28 on the night. I thought the Hurricanes played pretty well despite the loss and had several great chances, but a few missed opportunities, coupled with a hot goalie on the other side proved to be the difference. Kootenay goaltender Mackenzie Skapski was the first star and very deserving.
The Hurricanes played Tuesday without Juraj Bezuch and Tyler Kizuik. Bezuch served a one game suspension for a hit in the Canes last game before the break. Kizuik is still sidelined with a concussion, making him unavailable to the team as well.
With three current roster players at the U-17's in Ontario and 11 prospect players at the annual Mac's Tournament in Calgary, Rich Preston was able to call up forward Harrison Harper for a couple of games. As for that Mac's Tournament, a number of Canes prospects have already figured in on the scoring including players like Reid Duke, Tyler Wong, Bryton Sayers, Joel Topping and Christopher Tai. 9 of those 11 prospects are Hurricanes draft picks. The tournament will continue for the next week.
The Hurricanes will close out 2011 with back-to-back games against rival Medicine Hat. The Canes will host the Tigers Thursday (Dec. 29). They'll travel to the Hat on Friday (Dec. 30). Lethbridge is 2-0 vs. the Tigers this season with both wins on the road. The Hurricanes will open 2012 Monday (Jan. 2) when they host Kootenay.