LETHBRIDGE - Two goals in the first and two more in the second helped the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Wednesday night at the ENMAX Centre.
The Hurricanes came out with a fair bit of jump in this game after a 6-0 victory the night before against Red Deer. Calgary though would open the scoring with a pair of goals in the opening 20 minutes. 9:00 into the game, Chase Lang would bang a loose puck by Hurricanes goaltender Teagan Sacher to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. It stayed that way until the final 65 seconds, when Calgary's Calder Brooks was allowed to walk out from the behind the Hurricanes goal and lifted a backhander over the glove of Sacher to give the Hitmen a 2-0 lead after one period. The Canes had some solid chances as well, but Mack Shields was perfect in goal for Calgary. The shots were even a 13-13.
In the second, the Hurricanes would get on the scoreboard. Josh Derko moved in and hammered a low shot beating Shields to cut the Calgary lead to 2-1. That was Derko's 8th goal of the season. That would be short-lived as Calgary would soon get that goal back. Calder Brooks found the back of the net for the second time in the game to put the Hitmen ahead 3-1 and then a few minutes later, Calgary would score on the power play. Jake Virtanen, who's been somewhat of a Hurricanes killer this season, would score against Lethbridge again to give Calgary a 4-1 lead. Lethbridge though before the end of the period would cut the Hitmen lead in half for a second time in the game when Jamal Watson scored his 8th goal of the season to make it 4-2 Calgary through 40 minutes of play. The shots were close, 26-23 Hitmen.
In the third, the Hurricanes would make it one goal game again. 3:42 into the period, Reid Duke would score his 4th goal of the season. That cut the Calgary Hitmen to 4-3 as the Canes kept chipping away at the Calgary lead. As the period moved into the late stages, the Hurricanes would pull the goaltender to get the extra attacker, but Calgary's Brady Brassart would score into an empty goal to seal the game for Calgary. Final score: 5-3. The Hurricanes out shot the Hitmen 34-33. It's the just the second time in 34 games this year the Canes have out shot their opponent. Calgary went 1/3 on the power play while the Hurricanes finished the game 0/5. The loss drops the Canes overall record to 5-25-2-2.
The Hurricanes will hit the road for their next two games. The Canes will take on the Oil Kings in Edmonton Friday (Dec. 13). The Canes won their first game of the season at Rexall Place way back on September 29th. This will be the 5th meeting of the season between the two teams. Edmonton played twice in Lethbridge two weekends ago and won both games by just a single goal. Game time is 7:00 pm MST. The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30. The Hurricanes will play in Red Deer Saturday (Dec. 14) before returning home Sunday (Dec. 15) for a matinee against Victoria at 2:00.