The Cane Train keeps on rollin'.
Justin Gutierrez scored a hatrick as the Hurricanes beat the Kootenay ICE 3-2 in Cranbrook Saturday night. He's been one of the hottest players on this team in the last couple of weeks and he provided all the offence for the Hurricanes in this one.
Lethbridge opened the scoring 4:17 into the first period when Gutierrez scored his first of the night and 9th of the season to make it 1-0 Hurricanes. The ICE tied things late in the period on a power play when Dylan Stewart scored to even the contest at 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.
In the second, the Canes regained their one goal lead when Gutierrez got his second of the game, and 10th of the season on a power play at 6:03. That made it 2-1 Hurricanes. Gutierrez then completed the hatrick with less than a minute to go in the period when he scored his 11th of the year. That goal turned out to be the game winner when it was all said and done. It also gave Lethbridge a 3-1 lead after two periods of play.
In the third, the ICE cut the lead to one when Matt Alfaro scored an early power play goal to get Kootenay back into the game. Despite plenty of time remaining in the period, the ICE just couldn't fine the equalizer in this one. Skinner was able to shut the door in goal and the Lethbridge Hurricanes would skate away with their 4th straight win, 3-2 in Cranbrook.
The victory improves the Canes overall record to 17-9 on the season. They badly out shot the ICE 43-23. The Hurricanes went 1/5 on the power play and the ICE were 2/3.
The Canes are poised for their best WHL season in a very long time. It's usually by the end of November that we start to see teams establish themselves. The past few years, the Hurricanes season what pretty much done at this stage as playoffs were a very distant thought. Not this year. This team is very much in the race. They sit tied with the Calgary Hitmen for second place in the Central Division with 4 points each. The two teams meet next Wednesday in Lethbridge (Dec. 2) for what will be a very important game. Puck drop is at 7:00 pm MST. The Hurricanes, in fact play their next three games at the ENMAX Centre as the focus shifts to the next few weeks leading up to the WHL's annual Christmas break.
As of Sunday morning, the Hurricanes sit just four points back of the Red Deer Rebels for first place in the Eastern Conference.