LETHBRIDGE - Just six games remain in the first half of the WHL season, and the Lethbridge Hurricanes find themselves sitting in second place in the Central Division with a record of 13-13-1.
The Hurricanes have overcome adversity this season, battling back to win six of their last seven games - including a 7-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday (Dec. 3) - after an eight-game losing streak.
Hurricanes defenceman Calen Addison, the reigning WHL player of the week, says the team has been practising better and that's led to better results on the ice.
"We've really tightened things up during practise, been working hard off the ice as well. It's going to pay off in the long run, and it's helping us right now too because we're playing a full 60 minutes in all three zones," Addison said.
Coaches and players alike spoke about lessons learned a year ago when the team was mired in a losing streak at that time, ultimately snapping out of it and making their run to the playoffs.
"When you're losing it's hard on your team, and hard on your mind off the ice and on it. Losing sucks, but we've overcome that now and we're winning some games, so we'll try to keep that going," Addison added.
The Hurricanes record last year at this time was 13-11-4, and ironically enough, that squad was fresh off a victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings as well.
Head Coach Brent Kisio says he doesn't know if it matters that his team went through a similar streak last year.
"Part of it is I think that adversity helped us come playoff time last year. It's probably going to be the same thing this year," Kisio continued. "If we can get into the playoffs, the adversity that we went through during that eight-game losing streak, hopefully it will contribute to some playoff wins down the road."
Next up for the Hurricanes is a Central Division showdown against the Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday night at the ENMAX Centre, before welcoming the Oil Kings to town on Friday night.
Wednesday is the first of six head-to-head meetings between the Hurricanes and Rebels this year.
Last year Lethbridge took five of six regular season games against Red Deer, before beating them in the first round of the playoffs.
Kisio says while there are two games to get ready for, they're always focused on the next game.
"This is a big game in the division against Red Deer, so we need to make sure we're getting better everyday and that we come out and work hard tomorrow."
The Hurricanes sit five points ahead of the Rebels, with two games in hand, and while Kisio acknowledged the games importance, he's more worried about his club.
"What we've done really well lately is focus on ourselves. We're playing a lot of good hockey clubs in different places in the standings, but right now it's all about the Hurricanes and what we have to do to win," Kisio said.
Friday night's game against the Oil Kings will be the Hurricanes final home game before the Christmas break.
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