LETHBRIDGE - The Calgary Hitmen scored two quick goals in the third period to erase a 3-3 tie and beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 6-3 Friday night at the ENMAX Centre.
The Hurricanes came out of the gates like a team possessed. Lethbridge out hit, out shot, and out played the Calgary Hitmen in the first period, but the home team found itself trailing the hockey game after the period was over. Calgary opened the scoring at the midway point of the period, when Trevor Cheek banked a shot off the inside of Damien Ketlo's pad to give the Hitmen a 1-0 lead. About 3 minutes later, the Hitmen would add to their lead. Victor Rask moved in and ripped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Ketlo and in, giving the Hitmen a 2-0 lead. Before the end of the period, Lethbridge would cut the Hitmen lead in half, when Jaimen Yakubowski snapped home his 15th of the season, beating Chris Driedger. That made the score 2-1 in favour of Calgary after 20 minutes of play. Lethbridge held a sizable edge in shots, 16-8.
In the second, the Hurricanes would push hard to get the equalizer. Right after having a great chance to tie the game, the Hitmen would get a two-on-one rush the other way and make good on the opportunity. Brady Brassart took the feed and shot the puck into pretty much a wide open goal to make it 3-1 Hitmen. Not too long after that, the Hurricanes would make it a one goal game once again. Sam McKechnie scored a highlight reel goal, for his 12th of the season. That cut the Hitmen lead to 3-2. McKechnie drove the net, slipped through the Calgary defence and with one hand on his stick, lifted the puck into the Calgary goal. That's the way the period would end. Calgary had a strong period and held the edge in shots 27-26 after 40 minutes.
In the third, the Hurricanes would tie the game early. Reid Duke picked off a bad clearing attempt at the Calgary blueline and fed a pass to Max Moline who tapped in his 2nd of the season to even the score at 3-3. The Calgary Hitmen would then regain their two goal lead with a pair of goals 90 seconds apart. Colin Bowmen hammered a point shot that beat Ketlo to make a 4-3 game in favour of the Hurricanes. A minute and a half later a lucky bounce for Calgary would be a huge back-breaker for Lethbridge. Calgary was heading off on a line change when Trevor Cheek shot the puck in from centre ice. It bounced down the ice and by Damien Ketlo to give Calgary a two goal lead for a third time in this game. The Hurricanes pulled the goaltender to try and get a pair of goals, but Jaynen Rissling would seal it up with an empty netter to make the final 6-3 Calgary. It was anything by a defensive affair as the Canes out shot the Hitmen 42-40. A very light night in the penalty department. Lethbridge went 0/2 on the man advantage with Calgary went 0/1. The loss drops the Hurricanes record to 27-40-0-1 on the season. All 5 games these teams have played this season have ended with the winner scoring 6 goals. Assistant Coach Chris Chisamore said on the CJOC post-game show, "We had too many turnovers in this game which cost us tonight. We have to tighten things up defensively. Too many shots against. Still we did some things too"
A CHAT WITH BRADY RAMSAY
Prior to Friday's game I spoke with forward Brady Ramsay, who's missed the last week and a half with an upper body injury. It was first thought he suffered a broken collarbone when he was hit late in the 2nd period in Edmonton. Ramsay says he's relieved it wasn't that serious and he's starting to feel better, but notes it's tough to have to sit and watch from the stands, regardless of whether the team is out of the playoffs or not. He says he'd like to return to before the end of the season next weekend, but Ramsay notes it's important he doesn't come back too soon and risk re-injury. Ramsay says he wants to be 100% when training camp starts in September. Ramsay has registered 23 goals, 18 assists for 41 points in 61 games this season.
The Hurricanes will play their final game of at home this season on Saturday night (Mar. 10) when they host the Medicine Hat Tigers. Prior to the start of the game, the Hurricanes will give out their annual player awards. This will also be the 7th of 8 meetings this season between the two Highway 3 rivals. The two clubs will close out the WHL's regular season next weekend in Medicine Hat. Game time Saturday from the ENMAX Centre is 7:00 pm MST. The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30.