LETHBRIDGE - One line did most of the damage as the Lethbridge Hurricanes won their 5th straight on home-ice, beating the Victoria Royals 5-4 in overtime Friday night.
The Hurricanes got off to another quick start, this time it was Brody Sutter that opened the scoring. Just 2:01 into the game, Phil Tot dropped a blind pass from behind the Victoria goal and Sutter fired it by Keith Hamilton for his 15th of the season to give Lethbridge an early 1-0 lead. The game stayed that way and the Hurricanes had several chances to increase their lead and they found a way to do just that late in the period when Phil Tot scored with just 35 seconds to go to give Lethbridge a 2-0 lead heading into the dressing room. It was Tot's 3rd goal of the season. The Canes held the edge in shots 12-11 after 20 minutes.
In the second, the Hurricanes would extend their lead to 3-0. Graham Hood, who's been a monster lately nailed home his 7th of these season, and third in two games. That was a power play goal and gave Lethbridge a bit of breathing room. That forced Victoria to make a goaltending change. Jared Rathjen was in and Keith Hamilton out. A few minutes later, Victoria would get on the scoreboard. Jesse Pauls would score on the power play, beating a screened Damien Ketlo. That cut the Hurricanes lead to 3-1. That would be it for the period. The Royals held the edge in shots 25-22.
In the third, the Royals would make it a one-goal hockey game. Less than a minute in, Ben Walker cashed in a rebound by Ketlo to cut the Lethbridge lead to 3-2 with lots of hockey to be played. A few minutes later, the Royals would complete the comeback. Jesse Pauls was left alone in front of the goal and scored his second of the game to tie the score at 3-3 and then moments later, Victoria would take the lead for the first time when Jamie Crooks ripped a shot by Ketlo and in. That made it 4-3 Royals. The Royals scored three goals in roughly 6 minutes to take the one-goal lead. Seconds later, Lethbridge would tie things when Dan Johnston scored his first of the year to make it a 4-4 score. That ended up sending the game into overtime for the second consecutive night at the ENMAX Centre. Early in the extra period, the Hurricanes did it again. This time Brady Ramsey was the hero, scoring the O.T. winner to give Lethbridge another thrilling 5-4 comeback win. It was Ramsey's 15th of the season and a big one at that. Victoria out shot Lethbridge 44-28. The Royals finished the game 1/6 on the power play and Lethbridge 1/2. Assistant Coach Chris Chisamore said on the CJOC post-game show that eventhough he's happy with the victories, but is concerned about letting teams back into games. With that, he'll take the win and move on.
The Hurricanes are playing some pretty darn good hockey right now. That's 5 straight wins at home, 7 victories in their last 8 at the ENMAX Centre and 10 of their past 14 overall. This is the best stretch of hockey the Canes have played in the last three seasons. Cam Braes' 10 game point scoring streak came to an end in this one.
AT THE HALF-WAY POINT
The Hurricanes are now officially at the half-way point in this WHL season. They sit with a record of 13-22-0-1 for 27 points. Compare that to the Canes record at the half-way point last season when the finished 36 games with a record of 12-16-2-6 for 32 points.
The Hurricanes will close out their pre-Christmas schedule Saturday when they host the Swift Current Broncos. It's the annual Teddy Bear Toss game. Fans are asked to bring a stuffed animal to the game and when the Canes score their first goal, all the toys will be thrown onto the ice, collected, and donated to several local charities in the Lethbridge-region. Last season, Cam Braes scored the teddy bear goal.