BRANDON, MB. - The Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a two goal deficit and came back to beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-3 Friday night on the road in Manitoba.
Not the start on the road the Hurricanes were hoping for. After scoreless first 12 minutes, the Brandon Wheat Kings opened the scoring on a breakaway by Alessio Bertaggia. The Wheat King forward block a point shot from Jaimen Yakubowski and skated in all alone and beat Ty Rimmer to put the home side up 1-0. The Wheaties would get one more very late, with just 10 seconds to go in the period. Jayce Hawryluk stormed down the right wing and hammered a shot that Rimmer got a piece of, but not enough as is got by him, putting Brandon ahead 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Wheat Kings out shot Lethbridge 2-0.
In the second, the Hurricanes got things going offensively with a pair goals. Jay Merkley scored his 9th of the season off a nice feed from Tyler Wong to cut the Wheaties lead to 2-1 early in the period. That was Merkley's 9th goal of the season. Just over 7 minutes later, the Canes found the equalizer on a power play. Albin Blomqvist's point shot was stopped by Corbin Boes, but Russ Maxwell was right there to cash the puck into a wide open net to tie the game at 2-2. It was Maxwell's team-leading 13th goal of the season. The Hurricanes had a great opportunity late to take the lead when Jamal Watson was sprung free on a shorthanded breakaway, but he was unable to score and the game remained tied 2-2 after two periods. The shots favour Brandon 26-23.
In the third, the Canes would keep it coming. Jamal Watson broke in on another breakaway and this time he would make no mistake and put it upstairs on Boes to give Lethbridge a 3-2 lead. That was his 6th of the season and then a few minutes later the Hurricanes would go up 4-2 when Craig Leverton scored his 4th of the year while laying on the ice. The Canes came back with 4 straight goals to take a two goal lead. The Wheaties got one of those back when Geordie Maguire beat Rimmer on a breakaway to cut the Lethbridge lead to 4-3. That didn't last long as the visitors found a way to get their two goal lead once again. Macoy Erkamps slap shot hit a Brandon player in front and deflected in to give the Canes a 5-3 lead late in the period and that's the way the game would end. That was Erkamps' 3rd goal of the year and sealed the deal for Lethbridge.
The win improved the Canes record to 12-7-1-1 on the season fort 26 points. Lethbridge has also won 4 games in a row. The Hurricanes went 1/3 on the power play in this game while Brandon finished the night 0/4. The Hurricanes still remain in 4th place in the Eastern Conference.
PRESTON ON GALBRAITH
Head Coach and GM Rich Preston talked more with me prior to the game about Spencer Galbraith leaving the team and going home. He said, "It completely came out of the blue after the game on Wednesday. We (coaches) had a long chat with him and told him to sleep on it, but we couldn't talk him out of it. He cam back the next morning, said bye to the guys, and went home. I don't what he plans to do". Preston says at some point with a surplus of defenceman, a decision or two would've had to be made at that position. He says this does give Joel Topping a chance to play again. Preston notes Topping has been good and with him it was simply a numbers game with Topping being a healthy scratch.
The Hurricanes will play the second game of this 3 game road trip in Regina Saturday (Nov. 10 ) against the Pats. The Canes routed Regina a few weeks ago when the Pats were in Lethbridge. Game time from the Queen City is 6:00 pm (MST). The pre-game show on CJOC at 5:30.