LETHBRIDGE - The Lethbridge Hurricanes put an end to the October curse with a 3-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars Friday night.
For the second game in a row, the Lethbridge Hurricanes would open the scoring with a very quick goal. Just over a minute into the first period, the Canes power play would click on it's first opportunity. Russ Maxwell lifted the puck over the shoulder of Brett Zarowny to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. That was his team-leading 4th goal of the season. Both teams would get some good chances as the period moved along but that would be the only offence in the opening 20 minutes. The Hurricanes would get a late 5 minute power play when PG's Caleb Belter was given a major penalty and ejected from the game for a hit from behind as he knocked down Jaimen Yakubowski who didn't see the high hit coming. The Cougars held the edge in shot on goal 10-7.
In the second, the Hurricanes would score on that major power play. Russ Maxwell scored his 5th of the season and second of the night to give Lethbridge a big two goal cushion. A few minutes later, PG would cut into that lead when Lethbridge native Brock Hirsche slapped the puck by Ty Rimmer to make it a 2-1 hockey game in favour of Lethbridge. That's the way the period would end. PG held the edge in shots 20-18.
In the third, the Cougars would get the equalizer less than a minute in. Jari Erricson fired the puck by Rimmer who didn't see the pass coming from behind the goal. That evened things up at 2-2. It looked like perhaps we would be headed into overtime, but with under 5 minutes to go in the game Sam McKechnie took a feed from Graham Hood and roofed a shot into the top corner for his 4th of the season and that would be the game winner as the Canes would skate away with a 3-2 victory. Lethbridge out shot the Cougars 28-27 in what was a fairly evenly played game. The Canes went 2/6 on the power play and PG was 1/6. The win improves the Hurricanes record to 3-5 in 8 games this season. For Prince George, it's their first loss on the road this year. The October curse is over for the Hurricanes as well. This was their first victory in the month of October when they beat Brandon on October 30th, 2010.
Connor Sutton suited up for the first time this season. The defenceman had missed the first 7 games of the regular season with an injury.
After the the 4-1 to Prince Albert on Tuesday, the coaches had a rather long closed door meeting with the players in the dressing room. I asked Head Coach and GM Rich Preston about the message they tried to get across after that game. He says his team just has to keep things simple and play together. Preston says they were "disjointed" in the 3rd period of that PA game and turned the puck over way too much.
The Hurricanes will continue this home stand on Saturday night as they host the Saskatoon Blades. Like the Hurricanes, the Blades are off to a slow start this season and both teams will be extra hungry in this game. The Blades have lost 4 games in a row and have a league-worst record at 2-7. The team two teams split the four meetings last season. Game time from the ENMAX Centre is 7:00 pm (MDT). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30.