LETHBRIDGE - Josh Derko broke a 4-4 tie in the 3rd period as the Lethbridge Hurricanes held on for a 5-4 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night.
The Hurricanes opened the scoring in this first battle of the Highway 3 rivals since opening weekend. In his first game in the Western Hockey League, Kristian Khenkel fired a point shot beating a screened Daniel Wapple in the Medicine Hat goal. That gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. Just 5 seconds later, the Tigers would even the score on a strange goal. Tyler Lewington sent the puck on goal right from centre ice and it bounced by Teagan Sacher tying the game at 1-1. Medicine Hat then took the lead, when Kyle Becker scored to make it 2-1 Tigers. Late in the period the Hurricanes would even the score and then re-take the lead. On a power play, Kolten Olynek would bury his 3rd of the season to make it a 2-2 game and before the buzzer sounded, Nick Walters scored his first of the season shorthanded to give Lethbridge a 3-2 lead after 20 minutes. That was the Hurricanes first shorthanded goal of the season. The Tigers held a 19-13 edge in shots on goal.
In the second, Medicine Hat would make a goaltending change as the young Zak Robidoux would relplace Daniel Wapple. The Hurricanes would jump ahead by a pair of goals when Tyler Bell notched his 2nd of the season to give Lethbridge a 4-2 lead. The Tigers though would keep hammering pucks at Sacher in the Lethbridge goal. They out shot the Canes 16-4 in the period, but Sacher was perfect between the pipes and held the Tiger off the score sheet. The Hurricanes would take a two goal lead into the dressing room after 40 minutes of play. Medicine Hat out shot the Canes 35-17 through two periods of play.
In the third the Tigers would claw their way back from a two goal deficit. Miles Koules found the back of the net a few minutes into the period to cut the Canes lead to 4-3. Shortly after that, Medicine Hat would tie the game when Cole Sanford was sprung free shorthanded and he scored to tie things up at 4-4. That didn't last long as the Hurricanes, on the same man advantage, 17 seconds later, scored when Josh Derko potted his 9th goal of the season to give Lethbridge a 5-4 lead. The Tigers would press for the equalizer late as they pulled the goalie, but Sacher shut the door and the Canes would skate away with a close one goal victory.
Teagan Sacher kept the Hurricanes in this game and was a big reason for the win. Medicine Hat out shot the Canes 50-25. Special teams were a huge factor as well. The Tigers went 0/6 on the power play while the Hurricanes finished the game 2/4. The win improves the Canes record to 7-27-2-3 in 29 games this season. It's also the first time this year the Canes have won back-to-back games.
The Hurricanes will close the 2013 portion of their schedule Saturday (Dec. 28) when they travel to Medicine Hat for the re-match against the Tigers. This will be the 4th of 8 meetings this season between the two Highway 3 rivals. Game time is 7:30 pm MST. The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30. The Hurricanes won't play again until New Year's Day when the travel to Saskatchewan to take on the Pats in Regina for a 1:00 pm MST start January 1st, 2014. The Canes will also play in Prince Albert and Saskatoon next weekend.