The Lethbridge Hurricanes are going through a bit of a bumpy late season stretch at the moment.
The Canes lost their third straight game Saturday, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Hitmen in Calgary. The Hurricanes have only four wins in their last ten games over thee past couple of weeks, but they still hold first place in the WHL's Eastern Conference. The loss Saturday dropped their overall record to 40-19-1 on the season, three points ahead of Brandon. The Wheat Kings though have two games in hand on the Hurricanes.
Calgary got on the score sheet first in this game. Jakub Stukel scored his first of two on the night to make it 1-0 Hitmen. That was a power play goal midway through the opening period.
In the second Stukel found the back of the net for a second time. This goal came just one minute into the period and put the Hitmen up 2-0. The Hurricanes though did get one of those back about six minutes later when Ryan Vandervlis put home his 6th of the season to cut the Calgary lead to 2-1. That would be the score after 40 minutes of play.
In the third, Calgary scored what would turn out to be the game winner. Just 2:25 into the final frame, Dawson Martin beat Jayden Sittler to make it a 3-1 game in favour of Calgary. The Hurricanes did cut into the Calgary lead again when Cory Millette scored his 26th of the season. That got the Hurricanes to within one goal, but that's as close as they would get in this one, losing 3-2 to the Hitmen.
The Hurricanes were out shot 38-27 by Calgary in this one. The Canes went 0/2 on the power play and Calgary was 1/4.
Lethbridge is now down to 12 games remaining in the regular season, so things are now in the home stretch heading into the post season. The Hurricanes will have to try and find their groove again over the next few weeks. It's certainly not panic time or anything, but if they can get back Estephan and Gutierrez from injury that should certainly help in getting things back on track.
Getting first place in the Eastern Conference would be huge as well once it's all said and done, but that's still far from being secured. They still have Brandon breathing down their necks. It'll be a huge game Friday (Feb. 26) when the Wheat Kings make a visit to the ENMAX Centre.