The Lethbridge Hurricanes battled back from a 3-0 deficit, but it wasn't enough as they lost 4-2 Saturday to the Calgary Hitmen at the ENMAX Centre.
Despite the loss, the Canes battled Calgary very close all night long. In fact when it was all said and done, the final shots slightly favoured the Hitmen 23-22. That's a huge departure from the average of 40 plus shots the Canes have given up on a nightly basis this season.
This game started out scoreless after one period of play. Calgary opened the scoring in the second with three straight goals. Connor Rankin broke a 0-0 tie with a power play goal 4:37 into the second period. That gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, Calgary struck again. This time Chase Lang beat Jayden Sittler making it 2-0. Just past the midway point in the period the Hitmen jumped ahead by three when Elliott Peterson scored to make it 3-0. The Hurricanes did get one of those back before the end of the period. Ryley Lindgren scored a power play goal, his 6th of the season to cut the Calgary lead to 3-1 after 40 minutes of play.
The Hurricanes kept chipping their way back into the game in the third. Mike Winther got the Canes to within one goal when he scored his 14th goal of the season less than a minute into the period. That made it a 3-2 game in favour of the Hitmen. It stayed that way until the last few minutes of the period when Calgary increased its lead by two again when Keegan Kanzig scored. That made it 4-2 Hitmen and that's the way this game would end.
As mentioned the Hurricanes played Calgary tight with the final shots 23-22 Hitmen. The Hurricanes finished the game 1/3 on the power play and Calgary was 1/4. The loss was the Hurricanes 4th in a row and dropped their overall record to 20-40-5-3 on the season.
The Canes and Hitmen will play one last time this season. That's Sunday (Mar. 15) at the Saddledome. Twice this season, Calgary has scored 9 goals in a game against Lethbridge at the Saddledome. The Canes though have been a much more competitive team since those games.
Next week is the final week of the WHL season. The Hurricanes will play their final three games. They're at home Wednesday (Mar. 18) to host Kootenay and then on the weekend the Canes will close out the season with a home-and-home set against Swift Current. In the past the Hurricanes have always finished the year with games against Medicine Hat, so this is a bit of a change this time around. These final games mean nothing to the Hurricanes in terms of standings, but to the Hitmen and ICE especially these games mean an awful lot in terms of playoff positioning.