LETHBRIDGE - Five power play goals powered the Medicine Hat Tigers to a lopsided 8-2 victory over the Hurricanes Friday night.
The visitors would open the scoring in this hockey game. Emerson Etem tipped a hard pass by Damien Ketlo to get the offence going. It was the 11th straight game Etem has scored a goal for the Tigers. That's the longest current goal-scoring streak in the CHL. That made it 1-0. A few minutes later, Medicine Hat would get another one, this time on the power play. Curtis Valk would knock it by Ketlo, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Lethbridge would get one of those back when Captain Brody Sutter scored his 22nd of the season early on the power play to cut the Tigers lead to 2-1. Medicine Hat would regain it's two goal lead, when Curtis Valk scored his second goal of the night to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Damien Ketlo had surrendered 3 goals on just 9 shots at that point. Before the end of the period though, the Lethbridge power play would strike again. Jay Merkley tipped a point shot by Tyler Bunz to cut the Medicine Hat lead to 3-2 after one period of play. The Canes out shot Medicine Hat 13-10.
In the second, it certainly wasn't the same goal-scoring fest as we saw in the first. The Tigers, late in the period got their two goal lead back, for the third time in the game. Another power goal by Medicine Hat, this time a rocket point shot by James Bettauer to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead. Bettauer has been a Hurricanes killer this year. That was his 11th point in 6 games versus Lethbridge. That was the only goal of the period. The Tigers would take that 4-2 lead into the dressing room after 40 minutes of play. The shots were 26-20 Medicine Hat.
In the third, the Tigers would blow the game wide open with four goals. On yet another power play, Emerson Etem would fire home his 43rd of the game and second of the night to give Medicine Hat a commanding 5-2 lead. Then after that, Etem would record his 3rd of game and 44th of the season when he picked off a pass while shorthanded and put a backhander by Ketlo to give the Tigers a 6-2 lead. They weren't done there. Two more power plays and two more goals for Medicine Hat. Boston Leier would get one and Curtis Valk the other. That would be Valk's 3rd of the night. When it was all said and done, Medicine Hat would skate off with an 8-2 win. The Tigers power play was sensational, going 5 for 8 on the night, while the Hurricanes went 2 for 5. The Tigers out shot Lethbridge 44-25 in this game. The regular season series between these two rivals is even at 3-3. The loss drops the Hurricanes overall record to 19-31-0-1.
Assistant Coach Chris Chisamore said on the CJOC post game show that, "We let them do basically what we said we can't let them do. Free-wheel and give them too many power play chances. We have to come out against Prince Albert in our next game and pick up our socks and get ready to go."
The Hurricanes looked pretty sharp in their replica Lethbridge Sugar Kings Friday night. Former NHLer Lanny McDonald was the guest of honour and took some time out to come up to the broadcast booth to talk with Fred and I during the second intermission. Lanny said it was great to be back in Lethbridge and told the story of the old arena burning down in 1971 during a Sugar Kings playoff game which he happened to be playing in at the time.
The Hurricanes next action is Saturday (Jan. 28) when they host the Prince Alberta Raiders. This will be the second of four meetings this season between Lethbridge and PA. Game time from the ENMAX Centre is 7:00 pm (MST). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30. The Hurricanes are on the road next week in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.