MEDICINE HAT - Russ Maxwell scored three goals including the game winner in a shoot out as the Lethbridge Hurricanes came from behind to beat the Medicine Hat Tigers 6-5 Saturday.
The Tigers scored first in this one. Five minutes into the game, on a nice passing play, Hunter Shinkaruk buried a shot past Damien Ketlo to make it 1-0 Tigers. Two minutes later, Lethbridge would tie things up on a power play of their own. Russ Maxwell lifted a backhander by Tyler Bunz and that evened things up at 1-1. It appeared that possibly would be all the scoring until late in the period, when the Tigers got two more. Hunter Shinkaruk notched his second of the night with under 3 minutes to go to make it 2-1 Medicine Hat and then with just 0.3 seconds to go, the Tigers would score another power play goal, this one off a nice tip in front from Curtis Valk. Medicine Hat would take a 3-1 lead into the dressing room after 20 minutes. Lethbridge held the edge in shots at 13-12. Bunz came up with a number of huge saves for the Tigers in the opening period.
In the second, the Hurricanes would get to within one with a power play goal. Russ Maxwell would tap in his 2nd of the night and 14th of the season. That made it a 3-2 hockey game in favour of Medicine Hat. Three minutes later, the Tigers would get that back on yet another man advantage. Hunter Shinkaruk snapped home his 3rd of the game and 49th of the season to give Medicine Hat it's two goal lead again, this time 4-2. The Hurricanes would keep chipping away and before the end of the period would tie things up. On another power play, the Canes would make it a one goal game when Captain Brody Sutter scored his team-leading 30th goal of the season to make it 4-3 game. Then Lethbridge would get back to even terms when Russ Maxwell was sprung free on a breakaway, scoring his 3rd of game and 15th of the season to tie things up at 4-4 after two periods of play. Lethbridge held the edge in shots at 25-19. Up to this point, both teams had scored three times each on the power play.
In the third, both teams would come out hard to try and get the go-ahead goal. Later in the period, the Tigers would take a 5-4 lead when Matt Konan's point shot beat Damien Ketlo to give the Tigers a one goal lead with about 7 minutes to go in the period. Late in the period, the Hurricanes would pull the goalie and with 16 seconds remaining, Graham Hood knocked in his 16th of the season to tie the game at 5-5. That sent the game into overtime. The OT solved nothing, but in the shoot out Russ Maxwell, who had the hot hand for Lethbridge in this one would score the game winner as the Hurricanes would come back to win 6-5. Lethbridge out shot Medicine Hat 41-27. The power plays were busy. The Hurricanes went 3/8 and the Tigers 3/4.
The Hurricanes finish the 2011-2012 season with a record of 29-42-0-1 for 59 points. Last year, the Canes also had 59 points, but had less wins and closed out the year sitting at 23-36-5-8.
With this season now in the books, I'd like to thank all of our listeners who've tuned into the Hurricanes broadcasts and the Monday night radio show throughout the year on 94.1 CJOC as well as the readers of this blog. Everyone has an opinion on how things have gone and how they should go in the future both on and off the ice for this team. I hope this forum has provided you with another avenue to have a say and get opinions from others. It's been fun and although it's tough seeing your team miss the playoffs for a 3rd straight year, I'm also looking for a bit of downtime too after lots of travel this season. I know for the Hockey Operations staff, things remain busy and will be until the Bantam Draft in early May. Rich Preston and Brad Robson will be making the rounds to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, BC, and then finally back to Lethbridge in late April for the Alberta Cup as they scout the top Midget players available for the draft. It's another big one for the Hurricanes with two first round picks for a second year in a row. Then the Euro draft will take place in June after the NHL draft and the way it sits right now, the Canes will have a top 12 pick during that draft, so there are plenty of things taking place in the months ahead. With a high Import pick, it'll be interesting to see if the Canes make a selection or keep their two current imports, Albin Blomqvist (Sweden) and Juraj Bezuch (Slovakia) or trade that pick away for a roster player on another team. Like I said, plenty can happen in the next few months. Of course, there's been talk in the community about some parties interested in possibly purchasing the community-owned hockey team. I'm sure we will hear more about that in the months ahead too. As President Don Clark said on a recent edition of Hurricanes This Week, he has heard of talk around selling team, but that's all it's been.....talk. No group or groups have formally come to the Board with a request.
Before the playoffs begin, I'll write a post-mortem of the season so-to-speak and a look ahead to next year. There is no question there is plenty of talent coming up, but there are still a few questions too. We will get to that next week. Also, Hurricanes This Week will bring back the Media Roundtable for one last time this Monday night. Fred Jack and I will be joined by Dylan Purcell and Paul Kingsmith to take a look back at the season that was. There will be plenty to discuss and we plan to cover as much ground as possible in one hour. The show airs Monday, March 19th at 6:00 pm MDT.