CRANBROOK, BC - Russ Maxwell had a four point night as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the Kooentay ICE 4-2 Saturday night.
A slow start to the first period for Lethbridge in this game. Kootenay opened the scoring near the midway point of the first when Jagger Dirk fired a shot by Ty Rimmer, giving the ICE a 1-0 lead. The Hurricanes had a few decent chances as the period moved along, but couldn't beat Wyatt Hoflin who received his first WHL start in goal for Kootenay. The ICE out shot Lethbridge 9-5 in the period. Jay Merkley had a strong period for the Canes with a couple of good scoring chances, one of which went off the goalpost.
In the second period, the Hurricanes would end their goalless drought which lasted nearly 4-and-a-half periods of hockey when Jaimen Yakubowski notched his second of the season to even the score at 1-1. A few minutes later though, the ICE would regain that one goal lead. Eric Benoit with a great pass from behind the Hurricanes goal, found Brock Montgomery out in front and he buried behind Rimmer to give the ICE at 2-1 lead. After that, the Lethbridge power play took things over. Dan Johnston, on his return to the line-up from injury, hammered a point shot which hit a leg and deflected into the Kootenay goal, tying the game at 2-2. Just before the end of the period, the Canes would get a 5 on 3 power play and make good when Russ Maxwell tapped in a pass from Johnston to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes. It was a great period of hockey for the visitors as Lethbridge out shot the ICE 18-6. The Hurricanes were lead by Russ Maxwell who had one goal and two assists in that period.
In the third, the Hurricanes would add one more late in the period when Russ Maxwell's hot stick would score another, his 2nd of the night and 2nd of the year on another Lethbrige power play. That gave the Hurricanes some breathing room with a 4-2 lead. Things got ugly with 1:11 left in the game as Kootenay's Brock Montgomery skated by the Hurricanes bench after taking exception to an earlier hit and that sparked a near line brawl. After that was sorted out, the Hurricanes would skate away with a 4-2 victory, their first road win of the season. Lethbridge out shot Kootenay 29-18. The win improves the Canes record to 2-2, while ICE fall to 1-3. Russ Maxwell was the game's first star with a 4 point night. Assistant Coach Chris Chisamore said on the CJOC post game show that discipline was a big key for the Hurricanes in this game. Lethbridge went 3 for 8 on the power play and Kootenay 1 for 2.
The Hurricanes received a big boost to their blueline Saturday with the return of 20 year old Dan Johnston. He hurt his shoulder in a pre-game game two weeks and saw his first regular season action against the ICE. Lethbridge remains without the services of defencemen Connor Sutton, Adam Henry, and Ryan Pilon who all remained sidelined with injuries. Pilon and forward Axel Blomqvist who is also injured are expected to return to the Canes line up next weekend.
The Hurricanes will play their next two games on the road south of the border next weekend. On Friday (Oct. 5) they travel to Kennewick, Washington to take on the Tri-City Americans and then on Saturday (Oct. 6) the Canes with face off with the Chiefs in Spokane. Both game start at 8:00 pm (MDT). The pre-game shows on CJOC at 7:30. The Hurricanes next home game is October 9th when they host Prince Albert. The Canes will play 12 of their next 16 games between October and mid-November at home.