RED DEER – It seems the new guys are fitting in alright.
For the second straight game – both against Red Deer – two of the Hurricanes’ newest faces played a critical role in the team’s success, as they beat the Rebels 6-4 Friday, Jan. 12. This after they edged the same club a few nights earlier with a 5-4 shootout win in Lethbridge.
The start certainly wasn’t what they wanted, as the Hurricanes fell behind 1-0 just 26 seconds in the game. Newcomer Brad Morrison responded with his third goal in two games just two minutes later, but two Red Deer goals 1:21 apart at the end of the period would put the visitors in a 3-1 hole.
The second featured a much different Lethbridge team, as they dominated play – evidenced by the 15-4 shot advantage through 20 minutes – and evened the score 3-3 with power play markers from new captain Jordy Bellerive and Taylor Ross.
Midway through the third, new Hurricane Logan Barlage – who also had the shootout winner on Tuesday – made his presence felt, firing a pair of rockets past Rebels goalie Riley Lamb to pull ahead.
Red Deer would score once more to make things interesting, until Dylan Cozens picked up the insurance goal with just over a minute to play, as the ‘Canes cruised to a 6-4 win.
Taking advantage of a Rebels team that has now last 10 in a row, the Hurricanes currently sit second in the Central Division after winning two straight and leap-frogging the idle Kootenay Ice. It sets them up nicely for a home matchup against that Ice team on Saturday, who will skid into Lethbridge having dropped their last five games.
Another important part of the win is the cushion it gives them over non-playoff teams that are still looking for a spot. The Calgary Hitmen are the closest, but sit nine-points back of Lethbridge after losing 4-1 to Brandon Friday night.
As a quick side note worth mentioning, Stuart Skinner – traded to Swift Current with Giorgio Estephan and Tanner Nagel for Barlage and a package of players and draft picks – registered the shutout in a 4-0 win over Prince Albert in his Broncos debut.
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