LETHBRIDGE – Thanks to a handful of new faces in the lineup, the Lethbridge Hurricanes defeated the Red Deer Rebels 5-4 in a shootout on Tuesday night (Jan. 9) to halt a two-game losing streak.
Logan Barlage had the winner, and he alongside Brad Morrison, Owen Blocker, Matthew Stanley, and Logan Flodell all made their Hurricane debuts as well as 15-year-old Jacob Boucher.
Things started off well for Lethbridge in the first period, with Morrison scoring his 12th goal of the season on the powerplay to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 6:26.
The Rebels would answer to tie the score at 1-1 midway through the period, before Morrison would bury another powerplay goal, his 13th on the season, to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead heading into the second period. Shots were 15-9 in favour of Lethbridge in the opening frame.
Early in the second, it wasn’t a new guy but it sure was a new feeling as Brendan Stafford scored his first career WHL goal to put the Hurricanes up 3-1.
With six new players, it was no surprise that systems play was a bit of a struggle for the Hurricanes and the Rebels would take advantage of that in the middle frame.
Reese Johnson scored two goals in a minute and 53 second span to tie the game at 3-3, before Mason McCarty buried one home at 10:19 to give Red Deer the 4-3 lead.
It was short lived as Dylan Cozens 12 th goal of the season at 15:22 knotted the game at 4-4. That’s where things would stand after 40 minutes of play, and shots remained in Lethbridge’s favour to the tune of 27-23.
The third period and the five-minute 3on3 overtime session would solve nothing, so the Hurricanes and Rebels headed to a shootout.
Shots finished in Lethbridge’s favour at 41-33.
Kristian Reichel opened the scoring for Red Deer, and with the second shot for the Hurricanes Morrison would bury in the clutch to tie things at one after five shooters. When it came time for additional shots, Barlage’s number was called and he made no mistake before Flodell made the game winning save on Red Deer’s Reese Johnson.
Flodell made 29 saves in regulation and overtime, and stopped five of six in the shootout for his first win as a Hurricane.
Head Coach Brent Kisio says there were a lot of moving parts today, and it was important that his guys came out and played hard.
“I thought some guys that we added had a real big impact. Morrison scored a couple of goals, I thought Barlage was good, I could really go through them all because I thought they all had a good game tonight,” Kisio said.
With so many new guys, there really wasn’t a lot of systems play but Kisio says that was expected with guys playing the same night they were traded.
“With 33 per cent of the guys in our lineup being new, there’s going to be some mistakes,” he continued. “We knew that, and we just wanted to work hard and it was nice that we were able to get two points.
For the Hurricanes new starting goaltender, it was a whirlwind day.
Logan Flodell said he got to the rink in Swift Current this morning and was told the news, but despite the quick turnaround he’s happy to be in Lethbridge.
“I think we have a good opportunity with this team to hopefully win the division, and hopefully the guys brought in will help out with what was already here,” Flodell added.
As far as the game was concerned, Flodell says there’s some things to clean up but not bad for the first night.
Next up for the new look Hurricanes is the second game of the home-and-home series against the Rebels, in Red Deer, on Friday night (Jan. 12). Lethbridge then wraps up the week at home against the Kootenay Ice the following night.
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