KELOWNA, BC - Three goals by the Hurricanes in the first 5 minutes of the second period was the difference, as Lethbridge beat the Rockets 6-3 in Kelowna Friday night.
It was no doubt the Hurricanes best period of hockey on this BC road trip, maybe their best opening period on the road this season. The Hurricanes had several good scoring chances and got the first and only goal of the period. Off a face-off, Russ Maxwell flipped a backhand pass toward the goal and it was picked up and rifled off the post by Sam McKechnie to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. It was McKechnie's 7th goal of the season. Liam Liston was great in the opening period. He only faced 8 shots, but the Rockets had three very solid chances, all stopped by Liston. On the other side, Kelowna's goalie, Jordan Cooke was busy and made some key stops for his club, to keep it a one goal game. Lethbridge took that 1-0 lead into the dressing room
after 20 minutes. They also out shot the Rockets 18-8.
In the second, the Hurricanes blew the game wide open with 3 goals in a span 4:13 to start the period. Brody Sutter scored two of those just over a minute apart, his 19th and 20th goals of the season. Shortly after that Sutter would add the assist as Brady Ramsey notched his 18th of the year on the power play. That made it 4-0 Hurricanes. After that goal, the Rockets would make a goaltending change. Jordan Cooke was out and Adam Brown in for the rest of the game. Lethbridge kept the offence rolling, because the first shot the Hurricanes fired at Brown went in . Phil Tot put a wrist shot off the post and by Brown to make it 5-0 Lethbridge. That was Tot's 9th of the season. As the period moved along, Kelowna finally found a way to get a few puck past Liam Liston. Jesse Lees's point shot beat Liston on a Rockets' power play to cut the Hurricanes lead to 5-1 and then with less than a minute left, Colten Scissions put a backhander by Liston to cut the Lethbridge lead to 5-2 after 40 minutes. The Hurricanes held the edge in shots 32-20.
In the third, the Rockets would come up with a much better effort in the period and in the late stages, they would score to cut the lead to 5-3 for the Hurricanes. Tyrell Goulbourne put a shot by Liston to cut the Hurricanes lead to 5-3, but with the goalie pulled in the final seconds of the game, Graham Hood tapped the puck into an empty net for his 9th of the season and that sealed it up as the Hurricanes skated away with a 6-3 victory. Lethbridge out shot 42-29 in this game. The Hurricanes finished the night 1/4 on the power play and Kelowna went 1/6.
The Hurricanes played an extremely good 60 minutes from start to finish in this game and outworked the Rockets. Brody Sutter was a monster and probably the best player on the ice. He was given the game's first Liam Liston started in goal for the Hurricanes in Kelowna, his second start on this road swing and was excellent again between the pipes. Albin Blomqvist sat out his second straight game for Lethbridge after he was slightly injured in Vancouver earlier this week.
The Hurricanes now played 49 games this season and are closing in on the 3/4 point in their schedule. In fact as of Friday night, no team in the Western Hockey League had played more games to this point than Lethbridge. They currently sit with a record of 18-30-0-1 for 37 points. Last season (2010-2011) the Hurricanes finished with 23 wins and 59 points total.
After 10 days of travel through BC, the Hurricanes will be at home for the next week, with three games in four nights at the ENMAX Centre. The Canes will host the Kootenay ICE Wednesday (Jan. 25), Medicine Hat Friday (Jan. 27), and Prince Albert Saturday (Jan. 29). Given the fact Lethbridge has been a pretty consistent team at home, with a record of 12-12, they were certainly be happy to be back in some friendly and familiar surroundings. The Hurricanes next road game isn't till February 1st in Swift Current.
YOUTH WINTER OLYMPICS UPDATE
Lethbridge Hurricanes Prospects Reid Duke and Ryan Pilon were held off the scoresheet as Team Canada lost 2-1 to Finland at the Winter Youth Olympic Games being held in Austria. With the semi-final loss to the Finns, Canada will have to play for the bronze medal. Duke has 4 points (3G 1A) and Pilon 3 poionts (2G 1A) at the Games.