LETHBRIDGE - Emerson Etem scored twice including his 60th goal of the season as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 3-1 Saturday night at the ENMAX Centre.
After a short delay so the Hurricanes could hand out their annual player awards (see the list below), the Medicine hat Tigers would jump on the home team early. Just 36 seconds into the first period, Emerson Etem fired a shot by Damien Ketlo for his 59th goal of the season to give Medicine Hat a very quick 1-0 lead on their first shot of the hockey game. As the period moved on, the Tigers would go up by a pair. Boston Leier stormed down the left wing and hammered a shot off the post and in, to give Medicine Hat a 2-0 lead. That's the way the period would end. The Hurricanes were out shot 13-5 in that opening 20 minutes of play.
In the second, the Lethbridge Hurricanes would get on the scoreboard early in the period. Russ Maxwell sent a pass out from behind the Tigers goal and Juraj Bezuch was right in front to score his 8th of the season and cut the Medicine Hat lead to 2-1. Later on in the period, Tigers' forward Jayden Hart took a hit against the glass from Tyler Kizuik in the Hurricanes zone and fell to the ice with very little movement. Hart was loaded onto a stretcher and taken to hospital for examination. After play resumed, neither team was able to score and the Tigers would take a 2-1 lead into the dressing after 40 minutes of play. The shots were a lot closer after two periods of play, 20-16 Medicine Hat.
In the third, the Hurricanes would have several chances to tie the game, the best coming in the final minute with the goalie pulled when Adam Henry made a great play to hold puck in at the blueline and send in Phil Tot who put the puck off the post. Emerson Etem would end up scoring his 60th goal of the season into an empty net with 0.8 seconds to go and that would give the Tigers a 3-1 victory. Lethbridge finished the night 0/3 on the power play while the Tigers went 0/2. Medicine Hat out shot the Hurricanes 34-28. The loss drops the Hurricanes overall record to 27-41-0-1 on the season. The Canes will finish the season at home two games below .500 at 17-19.
I have to tip my hat to the Hurricanes organization. During the first period, the Canes paid tribute to Medicine Hat Tigers play-by-play broadcaster Bob Ridley who called his 3000th WHL game on the airwaves Saturday. The Canes put up a picture of Ridley on the jumbotron saying congratulations from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Classy move on the part of the Tigers main rival.
2011-2012 HURRICANES PLAYER AWARD WINNERS
Community Relations Award, Brody Sutter
Scholastic Player of the Year Award, Adam Henry
Most Sportsmanlike Award, Brody Sutter
Top Defenseman Award, Dan Johnston
Top Scorer Award, Brody Sutter
The 94.1 CJOC Three Stars Award, Damien Ketlo
Fan Favorite Award, Brody Sutter
Perseverance, Dedication and Sportsmanship Award, Brady Ramsay
Hurricanes Rookie of the Year, Sam McKechnie
Hurricanes Most Valuable Player, Damien Ketlo
That's it for home games this season for the Lethbridge Hurricanes. They hit the road next week to close out the year with games Wednesday (Mar. 14) in Calgary, Friday (Mar. 16) in Red Deer and next Saturday (Mar. 17) in Medicine Hat. Wednesday's game from the Saddledome is a 7:00 pm (MDT). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30.