LETHBRIDGE – For two-thirds of Sunday night’s (Oct. 29) matchup against the Seattle Thunderbirds, the Lethbridge Hurricanes stuck right with last season’s WHL champions.
In fact, if you only look at the first and third periods, the home club was actually ahead. A glance at the second period though will quickly sour that view and explain the home team’s 7-4 loss.
The Hurricanes started things early, with Ryan Vandervlis finding the back of the Seattle net 1:33 into the game for his fourth of the season. After giving one up only two minutes later, Josh Tarzwell restored the lead, giving the ‘Canes a 2-1 edge to end the opening frame.
It was Seattle’s turn to strike early in the second, as Donovan Neuls beat Lethbridge backup, Reece Klassen – who was in net for all seven of the visitor’s goals – the 1:07 into the period to even the score. They quickly added another 1:29 later, with two more coming – both from Zack Andrusiak – to surge ahead 5-2. The T-Birds defence meanwhile limited the Hurricanes to just four shots in the second.
The third would see both teams burry the puck twice – Giorgio Estephan and Vandervlis for the ‘Canes – with Andrusiak completing his hat trick with 38 seconds left on the clock to ice the victory for Seattle.
For the Hurricanes, the loss snapped a three game winning streak and leaves them with a 7-6 record 13 games into the season.
It was also a tough night for the Lethbridge penalty kill, which surrendered three goals on four Seattle chances, including the game winner and insurance goal. The PK is now ranked near the bottom of the league at just 75.5-per cent.
To their credit, Estephan’s third period power play marker (which went 1/3) improved their man-advantage efficiency to an impressive 32-percent, which is good enough for third in the WHL.
The Hurricanes return to action Wednesday night (Nov. 1) as they host the Saskatoon Blades. They will then close out a lengthy seven-game home stand on Friday (Nov. 3) when they welcome the Calgary Hitmen.
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