LETHBRIDGE – The second half of the Canada West men’s hockey season couldn’t have opened up better for the Lethbridge Pronghorns.
On Friday, Jan. 4 the Pronghorns overcame a slow start to beat the Regina Cougars 5-2 and they completed the weekend sweep of the Cougars with a 6-1 win by breaking open a tie game with three goals in just over a three-minute span late in the second period on Saturday, Jan. 5.
On the game's first power play 12 minutes into the 1st period, the unique five-forward power play unit capitalized for the Pronghorns when Torrin White deftly deflected a cross-ice pass from Russ Maxwell over Cougars goaltender Dawson MacAuley's shoulder to open the scoring.
The Cougars had a late two-man advantage for more than 30-seconds and were able to cash in with their first power play goal of the weekend when Zach McPhee banged home a rebound to send the game into the first intermission tied at 1-1.
The floodgates opened for the Pronghorns late in the 2nd period. On a delayed Cougar penalty, Brooks Maxwell found Connor Sanvido alone in front, who made no mistake potting his third of the season to give Lethbridge a 2-1 lead.
Less than two minutes later, White sprung Valentino on a breakaway and he snapped home his second of the weekend and sixth of the season to make it 3-1.
Rounding out the scoring was defenseman Evan Wardley, who buried his first of the season to give the Pronghorns a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Valentino upped the Pronghorns lead to 5-1 on a shorthanded breakaway three minutes into the 3rd period when he ripped a shot over MacAuley's blocker.
Then with the man advantage late in the third period, Ryan Chynoweth deflected home the Pronghorns sixth goal of the game and his second in as many games to round out the scoring.
Valentino lead the way for the Pronghorns offensively, with two goals and two assists while Torrin White added a goal and two assists in the victory.
Garret Hughson made 43 saves, in his second consecutive start, to pick up his seventh win of the season.
The win improves the Pronghorns record to 7-9-2 on the season and increases the Pronghorns lead over the Cougars and Bisons to nine points for the final playoff spot with 10 games to play.
Up next for the Pronghorns is a home-and-home series with the Calgary Dinos beginning Thursday night in Lethbridge.
Thursday night's game will be contested at Enmax Centre and is free for University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College students.
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