LETHBRIDGE - Russ Maxwell broke a 2-2 tie with 2:51 remaining in the third period as the Lethbridge Hurricanes came back to beat the Red Deer Rebels 3-2 Friday night.
Another tightly played period of hockey between the Hurricanes and Red Deer Rebels. For the third time in three games this season the Canes and Rebels played to a scoreless tie through 20 minutes of play. Both teams had some quality scoring chances, but Ty Rimmer and Patrik Bartosak kept the game all even. The shots were even at 9-9.
In the second, the Rebels would break the goose eggs. Dominik Volek, on the power play tapped the bouncing puck by Rimmer after a scramble in front of the Lethbridge goal. That gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. The Hurricanes though would respond with a power play goal of their own. Captain Graham Hood, parked in front of Bartosak would screen the Red Deer goalie and then tip a point shot for his 9th of the year, tying the game at 1-1. The Canes had a strong period and held the edge in shots 22-26.
In the third, the Rebels would regain their one goal lead. Matt Dumba jumped on the puck and hammered it by Rimmer to give Red Deer a 2-1 lead. The Hurricanes would come back again to even the score again. Sam McKechnie stole the puck from Matt Dumba on a Red Deer power play and would move in and score shorthanded to tie the game at 2-2. That was his 23rd of the season and a very timely goal because with under 3 minutes to go, Russell Maxwell grabbed the puck and snapped a bullet over the shoulder of Bartosak, off the crossbar and in to give the Canes a 3-2 lead, their first lead of the night. That was his 19th goal of the season and first goal since December 8th. The Rebels pulled the goalie late, but that's as the close as Red Deer would get and the Hurricanes would skate away with the victory. The victory improves the Canes to 24-22-1-7 for 56 points in 54 games. It also moved Lethbridge to within 4 points of Red Deer in the standings. The Rebels out shot the Hurricanes 33-31. The Canes were 1/4 on the power play and Red Deer 1/3.
JOHNSTON REMAINS SIDELINED
Canes defenceman Dan Johnston had an MRI on his shoulder and it looks like he'll be out longer than hoped. Head Coach and GM Rich Preston told me on the pre-game show Friday that there is some damage to his shoulder after suffering the injury in Portland a few weeks ago. He says Johnston will have to have surgery when the season is over. Craig Leverton also missed the last few games for Lethbridge with an injury and Jaimen Yakubowski was out Friday as well with back spasms.
The Hurricanes will hit the road for their next 5 games as they get set for another big divisional game against Kootenay ICE. This will be just the third meeting of the season between the clubs with Lethbridge winning both match-ups. Game time from Cranbrook is 7:00 pm MST. The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30. The Canes will travel to Saskatchewan Monday and take on the Pats in Regina Tuesday night.