The Lethbridge Hurricanes opened 2016 on the right foot with a 4-3 win over Central Division rival Calgary Saturday night at the ENMAX Centre.
The win avenges a loss a few nights earlier at the Saddledome and puts the Hurricanes back in first place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of both Calgary and the Red Deer Rebels.
The Canes got things started in this game. At the 4:42 mark of the first period, Ryan Vandervlis scored his second goal of the season to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. Just after the mid-period media break, the Calgary Hitmen tied the scored with a goal from Andrew Fyten. That evened things at 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.
In the second, the Hurricanes got a little more offence with a pair of goals. Bryden Burke scored his 11th of the season early in the period to make it 2-1 Canes and then a couple of minutes later, Arvin Atwal got in on the action, scoring his 7th of the year to give Lethbridge a 3-1 advantage. Before the end of the period, the Hitmen cut into that two goal lead when Pavel Karnaukov beat Stuart Skinner to make it a 3-2 lead in favour of the Hurricanes through two periods of play.
In the third, the teams exchanged goals. First the Hurricanes regained their two goal cushion thanks to Giorgio Estphan's 20th of the year. That made it 4-2 Lethbridge. That was a big goal because it provided the Canes with some much-needed breathing room. Calgary made the game a little more interesting though when Pavel Kournakhov put home his second of the night with about ten minutes still left in the the third period, however the Hurricanes were able to hold the Hitmen off the rest of the night and held on for a big 4-3 win.
The victory improves the Canes overall record to 27-12 on the season for a total of 54 points. Both teams were unable to score on special teams in this one, going 0/3 on the power play each.
The Hurricanes are now off until Wednesday (Jan. 6) when they host the Swift Current Broncos at the ENMAX Centre. On Friday (Jan. 8) the Canes are back on the road for another big game in Red Deer and then back home Saturday (Jan. 9) to host the Kootenay ICE.