LETHBRIDGE - WHL Player of the Week Jaimen Yakubowski made a good case to be named to the honour again this week as he scored 5 goals, but that wasn't enough as the Lethbridge Hurricanes fell 8-7 in a shoot out to rival Medicine Hat Friday night at the ENMAX Centre.
The Hurricanes struck first and often in the first period of this game. Russell Maxwell put the home team in front with a power play goal. That was his 17th of the season and gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later the Hurricanes would add to their lead. The red hot Jaimen Yakubowski stole the puck shorthanded and move in one a two-one-one rush and snapped the puck over Cam Lanigan to give the Canes a 2-0 lead. That was the Hurricanes 6th shorthanded marker of the season. Lethbridge wasn't done there and neither was Yakubowski. Before the buzzer sounded, Yakubowski put the Hurricanes in front 3-0 with his 2nd of the night and 15 of the season. The Canes would take that comfortable lead into the dressing room after 20 minutes of play. Lethbridge held a slight 7-6 edge in shots.
In the second, the Tigers would get on the score sheet and charge back to even the score in what turned out to be a wild period of hockey. Dylan Bredo took a nice feed from Jacob Doty and he beat Ty Rimmer. That cut the Lethbridge lead to 3-1. The Hurricanes would get that back in short order. Sam McKechnie slammed home his 15th goal of the season on the power play to give the Canes a 4-1 lead, but the Tigers would score three straight to get the game back to even terms. Hunter Shinkaruk scored on the power play to cut the Canes lead in half at 4-2 and the Curtis Valk scored a pair of goals two minutes apart to tie the game at 4-4. Medicine Hat scored 3 goals in a span of 4:01 to even the score. The Hurricanes would regain control of the game late in the period when Jaimen Yakubowski scored his 3rd of the hockey game and 16th of the season to make it 5-4 Lethbridge and with less than one second remaining in the period, Yakubowski would notch his 4th of the night and 17th of the season to give Lethbridge a two goal again, this time 6-4 after 40 minutes of play. That capped off a crazy, 7 goal second period of hockey. Lethbridge held the edge in shots 23-15.
In the third, the Tigers would make it a one goal hockey game again. Miles Koules fired a shot over Rimmer who stopped a screened shot previous and the rebound went to Koules who put it upstairs to make it a 6-5 game in favour of Hurricanes. The Canes would jump ahead 7-5 when Jaimen Yakubowski scored once again, his 5th of the night and 18th of the season off a mad scramble in the Tigers crease. That gave the Hurricanes a two goal lead with about 5 minutes remaining in the period, but it was far from over, because Medicine Hat would come back again with two quick goals to tie things up at 7-7. Hunter Shinkaruk beat Ty Rimmer with a backhander at the side of the goal to make it a 7-6 game in favour of Lethbridge and then just over 2 minutes later Elgin Pearce would tie the game at 7-7 when he moved in and slid the puck under Rimmer to even the score and send the game into overtime. The extra frame solved nothing, so for the second time in less than a week, the Hurricanes and Tigers would go to a shoot out to decide a winner. The Tigers would score twice in the shoot out and stun the Hurricanes with an 8-7 victory. It's the 4th times the Canes have lost in a shoot out this season. They get a single point, but let leads of 3-0, 4-1, 6-4, and 7-5 slip away in this game. The loss drops their record to 15-14-1-4 on the season. Lethbridge out shot the Tigers 32-29. The Hurricanes went 3/8 on the power play and the Tigers finished the night 1/5. You have to give the Tigers a lot of credit for not quitting in this game.
Defenceman Albin Blomqvist is out of the line-up for a while. Head Coach and GM Rich Preston said he took a head shot in the first period of the game against Edmonton and is out indefinitely. The Canes put Connor Sutton back on the blueline and Tyler Wong and Craig Leverton were back in the Lethbridge line-up on Friday against the Tigers.
The Hurricanes will take on the Kootenay ICE Saturday night (Dec. 8) in their annual teddy bear toss game. Almost half way through the season and these two Central Division teams are meeting for only the second time. Lethbridge won the first game way back in the second week of the season in Cranbrook. Game time from the ENMAX Centre is 7:00 pm MST. The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30. The Canes have 4 games remaining before the head out for the WHL's annual Christmas break.