LETHBRIDGE - Jay Merkley scored twice as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the rolled over the Medicine Hat Tigers 5-2 Friday night at the ENMAX Centre.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes came out like a house on fire in the first period of this game. Cam Lanigan came up with several key saves for Medicine Hat, but in the final two minutes of the period the Hurricanes finally found a way to get a few pucks by the Tigers netminder. Brady Ramsay scored his 4th of the season on a scramble out in front of the Medicine Hat goal to make it 1-0 Lethbridge and then just before the end of the period, the Canes would make it 2-0 when Ryan Pilon snapped home his 2nd of the season. Lethbridge would take a two goal lead into the dressing room following 20 minutes of play. The Canes out shot the Tigers 19-6.
In the second, the Cane Train kept rolling with two more goals early in the period, both from Jay Merkley. Merkley notched his 6th of the season, beating Cam Lanigan to make it 3-0 Lethbridge and then just 3:30 later Merkley would score again, his 7th of the year off a nice pass from Jamal Watson. That made it 4-0 Lethbridge and that was it for Cam Lanigan in the Tigers goal. Marek Langhammer would come in to relieve the Medicine Hat starter. It was also the 3rd time in the last 5 games the Hurricanes have chased their opponent's starting goalie. The Tigers though would settle down after that and would start clawing their way back into game. After Jaimen Yakubowski nearly made it 5-0 by snapping one off the post, the Tigers came right back the other way and Hunter Shinkaruk ripped a hard shot by Ty Rimmer to cut the Lethbridge lead to 4-1. A few minutes later the Tigers would get another one, this time on the power play. Trevor Cox got his stick on a point shot, tipping the puck in, making it a 4-2 lead for Lethbridge after 40 minutes of play. The Hurricanes held the edge in shots 35-19.
In the third, the Hurricanes would keep up the pressure pounding another 18 shots on the Tigers goal. Medicine Hat pulled their goalie late in the period, but couldn't find a way to get another puck by Rimmer. Russ Maxwell fired one into an open goal to seal it up with his team-leading 12th goal of the season. That made it 5-2 Hurricanes and that's the way the game would end. The Hurricanes hammered tonnes of rubber on the Medicine Hat goal as the out shot the Tigers 53-29. Both teams finished the night 1/4 on the power play. It also the 3rd time in the last 6 game the Hurricanes have pumped 50 or more shots on the opposition's goalies.
The victory improves the Hurricanes record 2 two game above. 500 to 9-7-1-1 on the season for 20 points in 18 games and 4th place overall in the WHL's Eastern Conference.
The Hurricanes play game 5 of this home stand Saturday (Nov. 3) as they host the Saskatoon Blades for the second time this season. The Blades have made a few trades since the two teams last played a month ago. The Blades trail the Hurricanes by 6 points in the Eastern Conference. They're coming off a victory Friday night in Cranbrook against the Kootenay ICE. Game time from the ENMAX Centre is 7:00 pm (MDT). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30. The Canes will host the Victoria Royals next Wednesday night (Nov. 7) to close out the home stretch.