LETHBRIDGE, AB – Make it six straight victories for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, after they thumped the Calgary Hitmen 7-4 in their final regular season game at the ENMAX Centre on Saturday, Mar. 9.
It was a choppy start, for both teams, as there were a number of whistles stunting the pace of play early on.
Just over a minute past the midway point of the period, it would be the Hitmen opening the scoring. Off a turnover in the Hurricanes end, Sean Tschigerl tipped the puck up and over Lethbridge goaltender Carl Tetachuk to make it 1-0.
The Hurricanes would respond at 14:23, thanks to captain Jordy Bellerive sliding a perfect pass across to Taylor Ross who made no mistake putting it past Hitmen goaltender Carl Stankowski to tie the score up 1-1.
Then on a late powerplay with time winding down on the 1st period, Calen Addison held the puck in at the blue line and played it to Bellerive on the half wall.
Bellerive cut to the middle and took a shot, which was deflected by Ross and just trickled through Stankowski to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead.
The horn would sound to end the opening frame with Lethbridge in the lead, though Calgary had the shots on goal edge at 12-11 after 20 minutes of play.
Early in the 2nd period, Ross would complete the hat trick and increase the Hurricanes lead to 3-1. The momentum would completely swing to the home side’s favour, and it wouldn’t be long before they struck again.
After a great effort on Friday night, Lethbridge’s fourth line got on the board again at 7:18 when Jackson Shepard beat Stankowski for his 5th goal of the season to make it 4-1 Hurricanes.
There was no rest for the wicked, at least for the Hitmen, on this night because less than four minutes after the Shepard marker the Hurricanes would strike again.
Jake Elmer’s goal-scoring streak was halted at 13 straight games on Friday night, but he lit the lamp on Saturday to give his team a 5-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
After 40 minutes of play the Hurricanes held a 5-1 lead over the Hitmen, and after a strong middle frame also held the shots edge at 25-19.
In the 3rd period, the Hitmen would cut the deficit down to 5-2 with a shorthanded goal by Riley Fiddler-Schultz at 9:33 but unfortunately for Calgary then Bellerive would go to work.
First at 11:57 Bellerive scored a highlight reel calibre goal to restore his team’s four-goal lead, and then less than two minutes later he beat Stankowski again for his 32nd of the season and fifth point of the night.
Calgary would add two late goals, but that’s as close as they would come as the Hurricanes held on for a 7-4 win.
Final shots were 34-29 in favour of Lethbridge and each team went 1-for-5 on the man advantage.
The Edmonton Oil Kings were inactive on Saturday, they’ll host the Kootenay Ice tomorrow, so for the time being the Hurricanes hold down the top spot in the Central Division with a record of 38-18-5-5.
The final two regular season games for Lethbridge will come on the road next weekend.
They’ll be in Red Deer to play the Rebels on Friday, Mar. 15 and then close out the season the following night against the Medicine Hat Tigers.
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