LETHBRIDGE – A pair of goals each from Jake Leschyshyn, Nick Henry and Igor Merezhko provided all the offence for the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday, Feb. 1, as they scored a crucial 6-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels.
Early in the 1st period with the Rebels Brandon Hagel off for tripping, the Hurricanes made the man advantage count when Leschyshyn scored his 28th goal of the season to make it 1-0.
Lethbridge would add another in the opening frame when Nick Henry beat Red Deer goaltender Ethan Anders at 16:49 to stake themselves a 2-0 lead.
The 1st period would come to an end with that 2-0 score holding up. The Hurricanes held a 15-12 shot advantage after 20 minutes of play.
Red Deer pulled within one goal of Lethbridge early in the 2nd, as former Hurricane Josh Tarzwell made it 2-1 just past the two-minute mark.
The Hurricanes would waste little time getting the two-goal cushion back when Leschyshyn struck again at 5:20 of the 2nd to put the Hurricanes up 3-1 over the Rebels.
A scrap between the top scorers from both clubs, Lethbridge's Jordy Bellerive and Red Deer’s Brandon Hagel would light up the ENMAX Centre a few minutes later, and it would provide another spark for the Hurricanes.
Just over three minutes later Henry added his second of the game to give Lethbridge a 4-1 lead. Lethbridge native Zack Stringer picked up the primary assist on the Henry marker for his first career WHL point.
Before the end of the middle frame, the Rebels would cut into the Hurricanes lead when Oleg Zaystev buried a rebound past Lethbridge goaltender Carl Tetachuk.
4-2 was the score at the end of two periods, with shots on goal continuing to favour the Hurricanes 25-21.
In the 3rd period, with Lethbridge back on the powerplay, Merezhko beat Byron Fancy who replaced Anders after the Hurricanes fourth goal of the night.
With the Rebels on a powerplay and down three goals with less than six minutes to play, they pulled the goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage but that move would pay off for the Hurricanes.
Merezhko ripped the puck from his own end and hit pretty close to the dead centre of the empty net for his second of the game to give the Hurricanes a 6-2 lead which would stand up as the final score.
Final shots in the game were close, with the Hurricanes holding a 29-28 edge. Lethbridge finished 2-for-4 on the powerplay on Friday night, while Red Deer finished 0-for-6.
The Hurricanes will remain at home Saturday night when they welcome the Swift Current Broncos to town.
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