More big offence from the Lethbridge Hurricanes as they beat the struggling Kootenay ICE 7-1 Saturday night at the ENMAX Centre.
Egor Babenko and Bryaden Burke each scored twice for the Hurricanes to lead the charge. The victory was the Canes 30th in 42 games this season and at one point before the end of the night the Hurricanes were sitting in first place in the entire WHL. That was before the Kelowna Rockets leap-frogged the Canes by a single point. Kelowna has 61 total points and Lethbridge 60.
The Canes got things started in this game with a pair of quick goals later in the period. Tyler Wong scored when he stripped the puck from a Kootenay defender and scored his 26th of the year on a partial breakaway to make it 1-0 Lethbridge. Less than a minute later, Egor Babenko scored his first of two on the night, his 21st of the year to give the Canes a 2-0 lead after one.
In the second, the ICE got on the board with what would be their only goal in the game. Cale Fleury beat Jayden Sittler to cut the lead to 2-1 on a power play, but it was all Lethbridge after that. Andrew Nielsen scored a power play goal for the Hurricanes, his 10th of the season to make it 3-1. Then in the final minute of the period, Brayden Burke scored his 12th of the season to give the Canes a comfortable 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
In the third, Burke would get his second of the night and 13th of the year on a highlight real blind, behind-the-back pass from Tyler Wong on a two-on-one rush to give Lethbridge a 5-1 lead. Then Egor Babenko scored his second of the night and 22nd of the season to make it 6-1 for the home team. Before it was all said and done, Justin Gutierrez got in on the act, scoring his 21st. That made it 7-1 and that's the way this game would end.
The Hurricanes improved to 30-12 on the season. They are five wins shy of tying their highest win total in the past seven seasons, which happened to be 35 victories total in the 2008-09 season. That ironically was the last season this club made the playoffs. Those seven goals against Kootenay gives the Canes a total of 182 for the season, the most in the WHL to date.
The Hurricanes out shot the ICE 35-32 in the game. The Canes were 1/2 on the power play and Kootenay was 1/3.
The Hurricanes have a few days until their next action when they travel to Swift Current Wednesday (Jan. 13) to take on the Broncos. They're back home Friday (Jan. 15) to host the visiting Kamloops Blazers.