Former Hurricane Axel Blomqvist scored twice to lead the Victoria Royals to a 4-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday night at the ENMAX Centre.
It was the Canes first home game in a couple of weeks. The hockey club is trying to find a way to get out of an early season funk which has seen the Hurricanes really struggle to score goals.
The game remained scoreless until the final minute of the first period, when Axel Blomqvist scored at the 19:00 mark against his former team to give the visiting Royals a 1-0 lead heading into the dressing room after 20 minutes of play.
In the second, Victoria jumped ahead 2-0 when Jack Walker scored on a power play at 3:59. Although down 2-0, that actually lit a bit of a fire under the Hurricanes who came charging back with a pair of goals to even the game. Giorgio Estephen notched his first goal of the season on the power play at 11:23 to cut the lead to 2-1 and then Tyler Wong scored his first of the year, also on the power play to tie the game at 2-2 late in the period.
In the third though, the Royals would get both of those goals back. Tyler Soy scored at 6:39 to give Victoria a 3-2 lead and then Blomqvist score his second of the evening, unassisted at 7:16 to add a little insurance for the visitors. When it was all said and done, the Royals would skate away with a 4-2 victory and hand the Hurricanes their 5th consecutive loss. The loss drops the Canes overall record to a league-worst 1-7-0-1 in 9 games this season. One real positive for Lethbridge was the power play. It went 2/5, while Victoria was 1/4. The Canes have struggled with the man advantage all season so far. Victoria out shot the Hurricanes 33-22.
The biggest concerns I have for the Hurricanes at this point are two-fold: lack of scoring and the amount of shots being given up. The Canes have only scored 18 goals this season. That's the lowest in the WHL to this point and second-lowest in the entire CHL. The club must find a way to generate more offence. Right now Riley Sheen, Zane Jones, and Jamal Watson account for over half of the entire team's goals (10 combined). The other concern, and it has been for a while is the number of shots being given up. The Canes are being out shot consistently each game. They are giving up an average of 41 shots a night through the first 9 games. Again, that is far too many shots for these young goalies to be facing game in and game out.
The Hurricanes next action is Saturday (Oct.18) when they host the Regina Pats. Regina has a .500 record heading into this game and are coming off a 1-0 loss to the ICE in Kootenay. Game time is 7:00 pm MDT at the ENMAX Centre. After this game, the Canes are on the road again for four straight games. They'll make stops in Edmonton next Tuesday (Oct. 21) and then it's off to Saskatchewan for three games in three days next weekend as they play Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and Regina.