Friday, 12 October 2012

Hurricanes Down Prince George Cougars 3-2

LETHBRIDGE - The Lethbridge Hurricanes put an end to the October curse with a 3-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars Friday night.

For the second game in a row, the Lethbridge Hurricanes would open the scoring with a very quick goal.  Just over a minute into the first period, the Canes power play would click on it's first opportunity.  Russ Maxwell lifted the puck over the shoulder of Brett Zarowny to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead.  That was his team-leading 4th goal of the season. Both teams would get some good chances as the period moved along but that would be the only offence in the opening 20 minutes.  The Hurricanes would get a late 5 minute power play when PG's Caleb Belter was given a major penalty and ejected from the game for a hit from behind as he knocked down Jaimen Yakubowski who didn't see the high hit coming.  The Cougars held the edge in shot on goal 10-7.

In the second, the Hurricanes would score on that major power play.  Russ Maxwell scored his 5th of the season and second of the night to give Lethbridge a big two goal cushion.  A few minutes later, PG would cut into that lead when Lethbridge native Brock Hirsche slapped the puck by Ty Rimmer to make it a 2-1 hockey game in favour of Lethbridge.  That's the way the period would end.  PG held the edge in shots 20-18.

In the third, the Cougars would get the equalizer less than a minute in.  Jari Erricson fired the puck by Rimmer who didn't see the pass coming from behind the goal.  That evened things up at 2-2.  It looked like perhaps we would be headed into overtime, but with under 5 minutes to go in the game Sam McKechnie took a feed from Graham Hood and roofed a shot into the top corner for his 4th of the season and that would be the game winner as the Canes would skate away with a 3-2 victory. Lethbridge out shot the Cougars 28-27 in what was a fairly evenly played game.  The Canes went 2/6 on the power play and PG was 1/6.  The win improves the Hurricanes record to 3-5 in 8 games this season.  For Prince George, it's their first loss on the road this year.  The October curse is over for the Hurricanes as well.  This was their first victory in the month of October when they beat Brandon on October 30th, 2010.

Connor Sutton suited up for the first time this season.  The defenceman had missed the first 7 games of the regular season with an injury. 

After the the 4-1 to Prince Albert on Tuesday, the coaches had a rather long closed door meeting with the players in the dressing room.  I asked Head Coach and GM Rich Preston about the message they tried to get across after that game.  He says his team just has to keep things simple and play together. Preston says they were "disjointed" in the 3rd period of that PA game and turned the puck over way too much. 


The Hurricanes will continue this home stand on Saturday night as they host the Saskatoon Blades.  Like the Hurricanes, the Blades are off to a slow start this season and both teams will be extra hungry in this game.  The Blades have lost 4 games in a row and have a league-worst record at 2-7. The team two teams split the four meetings last season.  Game time from the ENMAX Centre is 7:00 pm (MDT).  The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30.



  1. Good Friday night hockey game!

    My 3 Stars:

    1) Russ Maxwell
    2) Jamien Yakubowski
    3) Jay Merkley/Jamal Watson

    Honourable Mention: Axel Blomqvist

    What is there to say about Maxy and Yaks?!! Real heart and soul players!! There were many Hurricanes who stood out tonight. Too many to mention. That's a good thing!

    Still worried about our PP though.

    What's was up with Erkamps tonight?? BRUTAL 3rd period! Got beat to the puck twice behind the Canes' net which lead to him taking a bad penalty and the other lead directly to a goal. He didn't look like he was skating back hard enough on those two or three plays.

    I've seen Merkely with the puck enough times to know he's got great hands and had two or three really good passes in the offensive zone.

    I won't be at the game tomorrow night, but I hope the boys can keep up the intensity. The forecheck was great tonight. Always a man on the Cougar defence forcing them to make decisions before they were ready.

    Go Canes Go!


  2. where is all the comments about the bad coaching when the Canes win?

  3. Great game Hurricanes!


  4. It was good to see LAA product Brock Hirsche get a goal tonight. Bet Tim was proud!!

    ps. The coaching still sucks. Preston still not communicating enough to the players during game situations. (There! lol)

  5. Good win, despite the power play 2/6 that still seems to have no sense of system. PG's powerplay was based on quick puck movement.

    First time that Axel showed his increasing potential at home.


  6. Great won. That was by far the most hustle I have seen all year. The one player I still worry about is Hood. He makes to many bad choices with the puck. As for the coaches I still think that they need to do more coaching. Although I did actually see each of them say of few things to some of the players. AJ

  7. Good game. My 3 stars would be Mawwell Johnston and Rimmer. Maxwell is playing with huge energy! Johnston must have played 30 minutes. Set up first goal with unreal pass to Maxwell at the low post on PP that they missed but then scored. On the winning goal made an unreal pinch to keep puck in and set uo goal. How many guys did he set up wide open in front of the net on rushes.? At least 3 or maybe 4 times. Rimmer made some huge saves especially on the breakaway.
    Offence is still a huge issue. Darren you picked Watson and Merkely as a star? Both missed so many chances set up by others. Why when a goalie isn't perfect or a d man misses an assignment is that is criticized but a forward who misses wide open nets and breakaway after breakaway can't score is recognized as a star. Not scoring on these glorious chances are as bad as a turnover. The effort was great last night but the finish poor so let's hope the finish gets better tonight! Scott

  8. Scott the goals will come. Both of these kids Merkley and Watson can score...they have done so at every level. Worry more if they are not getting chances. If you have ever played the game you would understand that. Confidence is everything and I think these guys are young, are improving each game, and are developing chemistry playing together...Laurencille as well. Most players dont even come into the leaugue until 17. Stay tuned I think you will be pleased with these kids in the end! Great choice for 3rd stars Darren. Nice to hear all the positives!! Go canes go

  9. Kessey was dropped by the Hat, and was picked up by the Giants "for his Grit." (i.e. dirty play?) He will complete his 12 game suspension for his hit on Pilon just in time for Vancouver at Lethbridge on Oct 30!

    I sure wish Dustin Donaghy was still with us to challenge and destroy that coward! Any other volunteers?? - Richie.

  10. To anonymous at 11:10. I think the bloggers are appreciative enough for a win to keep criticizing poor coaching but the fact is it is still there, make no mistake. Buonassissi is traded and succeeds immensely. Tot, Merkely are incredibly high draft talents who simply learn absolutely nothing while here. Watch a practice. Listen to tot and buonassissi talk about it. Its a joke and is sad for the young talent who gets wasted because they just arent taught and have little to no confidence. The heart of sam and maxwell can only get you so far. There is plenty of talent here. Plenty enough to be 5-3 not luckily 3-5. I hope the coaches pick it up and learn some effective PP, breakout and offensive zone drills to give these talented kids the chance they deserve.

    Awesome game last night.

  11. ANON 1:45
    Don't hold your breathe! We are into season 4, and over the course of that time the current coaching staff has shown nothing in the way of systems (offensively and defensively); powerplay schemes and penalty kills. All you have to do is watch the other teams skilled or not, they have set plays on the PP, they have transition plays, and they have breakout plays out of their own zone. Until, they get away from "more effort boys!" as their coaching systems......the players will not learn. Take all the potenial skill on that team, use that skill in the right places and situations, this would be a very good team even as young as it is.


  12. I always viewed hockey as a read and react game and that effort is key. I have more of an issue with these kids not being in as good of shape as the rest of the teams. Thought the power play, breakouts and puck movement was much improved last evening. I agree with the post game show that the giveaways are terrible. I believe our point production will increase dramatically with the return of Pilon and Henry. HLR

  13. Scott.....I agree that Watson missed a BUNCH of chances including the clear break (which he didn't get much on his 5-hole shot), but he was flying all night.

    But I disagree completely that Merkley had the same chances on net that Watson had. Watson's speed gives him that edge that nobody (except maybe Maxwell) else on the team has. It's almost as if he's going TOO fast! But I gave Merkley a star because he played hard all night and had several good passes leading to scoring attempts in the offensive zone. He made a couple of small, but super nifty moves with the puck in the Cougar zone in order to get his passes off. He's got great hands for a 17 year old. I just hope he gets rewarded soon for his efforts.

    In the end, Watson and Merkley are two different types of players and both are still trying to find their niche.

    Good luck tonight boys!