For the first time in three years, the Lethbridge Hurricanes won their season opening game and they did it in fine fashion.
Newly named team Captain Tyler Wong scored twice as the Canes beat the rival Tigers 5-1 Friday night at the ENMAX Centre. The Hurricanes I thought looked very good in the game. Way more structured on the ice than I've seen thee past few seasons, especially when it comes to the power play.
The Canes opened the scoring in this game with a pair of goals in the first period. Jaeger White, the stepson of Tigers Head Coach and GM Shaun Clouston got things going for Lethbridge when he scored his first goal of the season just over 90 seconds into the hockey game. That gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead. The Canes added to their lead when Tyler Wong scored midway through the period on a power play to give the home side a 2-0 advantage through 20 minutes of play.
In the second the Canes kept rolling. Wong scored his second of the night early in the period. That made it 3-0 Lethbridge. That was the only offence for either team in the period.
In the third, Medicine Hat would get into some penalty trouble and the Hurricanes made them pay. Arvin Atwal scored on a 5-on-3 man advantage early in the period to put Lethbridge up 4-0 and then a few minutes later another power play goal from the Hurricanes, this one from Justin Gutierrez. That put the home team in the driver's seat for the rest of the night. The Tigers came on strong in the final frame and eventually broke the shut out bid for Stuart Skinner. Trevor Cox scored a power goal late in the game to cut the Canes lead to 5-1, but that's as close as they would get. Lethbridge skated away to a well-earned 5-1 victory.
The Tigers out shot the Hurricanes 41-32, however it was the Hurricanes power play which did the damage on this night going 3 for 8. The Tigers finished the game 1 for 6 with the man advantage.
I know it's only one game, but I saw a lot more from the Hurricanes Friday night than I have in a long time and it was great to see. Corey Millette and rookie Jordy Bellerive each had two assists in the game. Both looked very good as did the Russian Egor Babenko. A very strong first game for the import in my opinion. So lots of positives for the Hurricanes after one game. Now they get to do it all over again, this time on the road in Medicine Hat at the brand new Canalta Centre Saturday night. With close 8000 people expected in that building, it'll be interesting to see how the Canes respond to the hostile territory and how Medicine Hat plays in a new building with a very different atmosphere than the old Medicine Hat Arena.