VICTORIA, BC - Jamal Watson scored twice and Ty Rimmer was great in goal as the Lethbridge Hurricanes ended a six game losing skid with a 5-4 win in Victoria Wednesday night.
The Hurricanes who hadn't scored a goal since February 16th, opened the flood gates in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Canes unloaded for 3 goals in the first 7:11 with goals by Jamal Watson, his 15th of the season. That was followed up by Jaimen Yakubowski 18 seconds later with his team-leading 32nd of season to give the Canes a 2-0 lead and then a few minutes after that, the Hurricanes power play would strike when Sam McKechnie cashed in his 25th goal of the season to give Lethbridge a 3-0 lead. That would be it for Royals starting goaltender Patrik Polivka. He was pulled in favour of Coleman Vollrath and after that, Victoria came firing back. Shortly following the goalie change, Logan Nelson would get his first of two in the period when he snapped a shot by Ty Rimmer to cut the Hurricanes lead to 3-1. Then late in the period the Royals would make it a one goal game when the Hurricanes got into some penalty trouble and put the Royals on a 5-on-3 power play with less than a minute to go in the period. Logan Nelson blasted a shot for his second of the night make it a 3-2 game in favour of Lethbridge after one period of play. Ty Rimmer was excellent for the Hurricanes, coming up with several big stops as the Canes were out shot 21-14.
In the second, play was stopped for a period of time when the Royals' Logan Fisher took a hit from Canes Captain Graham Hood and was carted off the ice on a stretcher. No penalty was issued on the play, but that fired up the home team. Victoria came storming back to tie the game when Jordan Fransoo scored on the man advantage to even the game at 3-3. Lethbridge would get than one back when Adam Heny notched his 4th of the season to give the Canes a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes of play. Victoria held a 36-22 edge in shots on goal.
In the third, the Hurricanes would get into more penalty trouble, but this time the penalty killers came through big time. Jamal Watson scored his second goal of the night and 16th of the season with a shorthanded breakaway to give the Canes a 5-3 lead. That held up to the final minute when the Royals pulled the goalie and rallied. Jamie Crooks knocked the puck past Rimmer to cut the Canes lead to 5-4 with just 22 second left in the period. After the faceoff at center ice, the Royals pulled the goalie again and with 10 seconds to go Victoria nearly tied the game but they hit the goal post and the crossbar all with time running out and the Canes were able to hold for the victory.
The win improves the Canes record to 26-28-2-7 for 61 points in 63 games this season. The Canes remain 5 points of Kootenay for that final playoff spot in the East after the ICE won again Wednesday night. In the game the Hurricanes were out shot 48-29. Lethbridge went 1/3 on the power play while the Royals finished the night 2 for 8. Victoria has lost 7 games in a row.
The Hurricanes next action is Friday (Mar. 1) when they play the Giants in Vancouver. This will be the 3rd and final meeting of the season between the clubs. The teams split the first two meetings back in Lethbridge earlier this year. Game time is 8:30 pm MST. The pre-game show on CJOC at 8:00. The Canes will conclude this road swing Saturday (Mar. 2) in Kelowna.