Friday, 9 March 2012

Calgary Hitmen Double Up Huricanes 6-3

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"


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.



  1. I thought that McKechnie should have been the star for the Hurricanes and not Merkley. Sam scored a goal and blocked about 5 shots that I saw and skated miles. He is one heck of a hockey player.

    Knew we were in trouble when we controlled the game off of the start and were up 9-0 in shots and 0-0 on the score board.

    Hopefully tonight will be better

  2. I grew up in Lethbridge and worked part-time at the 'Sportsplex'. Last night was my first trip back to the 'Plex in a number of years.

    Things sure have changed! The game presentation with the video was pretty good and there was even a good sized crowd.

    The old barn looked pretty good with all the reno's. The lounge is nice. Sure beats going to Med Hat.

    'Canes had some good moments there too. They might have something next year.

  3. I listened to Pat's call on the radio and watch the highlights on Global TV. Sounded and looked like I missed a good game! I realize they lost, but it seems like there were a lot of positives and by all accounts, the Canes deserved a better fate.

    First off, lets give credit to Hitmen goalie Chris Driedger for stopping 39 of 42 shots. I'm not sure how tough all of his saves were, but that sounds like a pretty impressive total and by Pat's call, he stoned a few Cane players.

    The positives:

    Sounded like Merkley had one of his best games. His name was all over the radio. I think he's going to be MUCH better next year. If he can play with a little edge to his game, he'll realize his potential as a real player in this league.

    GREAT hit by Erkamps in the 1st(?) period. He wasn't quite as successful against Rask, but I think that says more about Rask than it does about Erkamps. McCoy's going to be a REALLY good defenceman in coming years!

    I know some people don't like Hood, but I think he could be an important player to bring back next year (if possible). He can help make room on the ice for smaller skaters.

    Still trying to figure out the goaltending philosophy (yes, I'm still on this! lol)......the coaches need to realize that Ketlo is NOT the future and they need to figure out what is going to happen next year by auditioning Liston and Kovacs THIS year. The team shouldn't be scrambling in October every year to find a starting goalie.

    Speaking of auditions, Duke impresses again! What a beaut of a pass on the 3rd Cane goal! He looks SO good for such a young player. He comes as advertised!

    Could be tough to follow up this heart-breaker tonight against the Hat, but here's hoping.....

    Would be interested in hearing from someone who was at the Calgary game.


  4. I was at the game last night Darren. Duke played well and I thought had far more jump and energy than Merkely...I am not sure what the radio guys saw there. Duke is not afraid to go in the corners where Merkely is. Erkamps had a great hit but was shed like an ant on Rask's goal. Merkely and Erkamps were both -2 with no points and stars...its more about media hyping for next year than the reality of the game. Maxwell had a strong game and was +1 and Johnston was use usual force on defence with a point and plus 1and a lot of hits. There is still a gap between the reality and the hype with the 16 year olds. The test will be next year. I agree with you on goaltending. There must be a fundamental confidence issue with Liston as it makes no sense. Scott

  5. Keys to tonights game against the hat:

    1. Heavy physical play against a team that will be trying to avoid injury. Hood, Oslanski, Galbraith, and Johnston need to RUN OVER Etem and Shrinkaruk every time they touch the puck. (They will instigate, and we need to SCORE on that powerplay)

    2. Relentless to the net while ROLLING 4 lines for the ENTIRE game.

    3. Make Bunz play the puck, and be ready to reap the rewards of his poor puck handling.