WHL recap: Hurricanes take out Hitmen; Brandon and Regina win in overtime

Brandon 6 Prince Albert 5 (OT)

Ty Lewis being signed by the Colorado Avalanche went mostly un-noticed late this summer. If the early going of the 2017-18 WHL season is any sign, the Avs have gotten themselves a good one. He had three points Sunday evening as his Brandon Wheat Kings (7-2-0-1) extended their winning streak to six games with a 6-5 overtime victory at Westman Place over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders (3-4-2-0). Lewis’ three-point night puts him into a tie for first overall in the WHL scoring race with Swift Current’s Tyler Steenbergen. Both have 25 points.

Schael Higson blasted home the overtime winner as the Wheaties as they stormed back from being down 5-3 late to take it in the extra session.

Sean Montogmery got the Raiders in front early though as he skated in tight on Brandon goalie Dylan Myskiw and roofed a backhand shot over his left shoulder.

Brandon responded with a power play goal that came with 8:55 left in the first. Kale Clage got a shot through on Raiders goalie Curtis Meger and Tanner Kaspick was first to the rebound.

The heat Kings added another power play marker four minutes and 45 seconds later. Kaspick tried to get around Meger in tight, but the netminder turned him away. Brandon’s Clague followed up the play though and buried home his seventh goal of the season.

2:49 before the first period ended, Cole Fonstad tallied for the Raiders to tie the game at two. He scored it by following up the rebound of a Jordy Stallard blast.

Montgomery again gave his team the lead with a marker just 49 seconds into the second. He rushed up the ice and was found at the back door by Vojtech Budik.

3:25 into the third period, Curtis Miske extended the Raiders lead to 4-2. Fonstad found Miske in a soft area on the power play and the overage center wired one past Myskiw.

After Ben McCartney scored his first WHL goal to cut the lead to one, Fonstad notched his third point of the night, scoring on a breakaway with 9:15 left to stake the Raiders to a 5-3 advantage.

Gunnar Wegleitner cut that lead to 5-4 as he sniped a shot up high on Meger with 8:03 left.

Then Lewis tied the game with 5:25 left as Stelio Mattheos found him with a cross-ice pass and he one-timed it. We then went to overtime where Higson won it.

Myskiw got his second win Brandon as he stopped 20 of 25 pucks that came his way. Meger, starting for the sixth straight time, with Ian Scott out to injury, turned away 24 of 30.

Brandon will try to keep their streak going with a Wednesday trip to Regina. Prince Albert battles the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday.

Regina 3 Edmonton 2 (OT)

Emil Oksanen is swiftly eclipsing the rookie import mark that Filip Ahl made last year with the Regina Pats (5-4-1-0). Ahl took the league by storm last year, notching 48 points in 54 games and helping the Pats to the league final. Oksanen, who took the overage Ahl’s spot in the lineup this year after the Swedish forward left to play professionally, already has 16 points in his first nine WHL games. So much for needing time to adjust to the North American game.

Oksanen added to his building legend Sunday evening, with the overtime winner as his Pats escaped a tough challenge from the surging Edmonton Oil Kings (4-6-1-0) 3-2.

Josh Mahura added three assists for the Pats, while Matt Bradley and Sam Steel both chipped in two points apiece.

Tyler Brown was game to turn away 24 of 26, while Edmonton’s Boston Bilous stopped 27 of 30.

Conner McDonald got things going on a power play in the second period for the Oil Kings. He played catch with Trey Fix-Wolansky, before the winger set him up in the high slot for a clear one-timer. The goal was McDonald’s second on the season.

Bradley tied the game at one with 3:56 left in the middle frame. He skated around two Edmonton defenders before surprising Bilous with a shot form high in the zone.

The Oil Kings would retake the slim lead before the second was over thanks to Davis Koch. Tomas Soustal found him with a slick outlet pass and Koch buried his breakaway opportunity.

With 8:40 left in regulation, Regina would get the tying goal from a likely hero. Sam Steel found himself with room to shoot after Bradley fired a quick, cross-ice pass and that would set up an overtime session.

Then, two nights after Mahura won the game in the extra session, Oksanen provided the heroics. After Edmonton was whistled for too-many men at the 20 minute mark in the third, Regina got a 4-on-3 man advantage to start the OT. Oksanen took a slick, cross-ice feed from sTeel and beat Bilous to win it.

It was an unfortunate ending for the Oil Kings, who one night after handing the Swift Current Broncos their first loss, nearly took down the reigning Easter Conference champions.

The Oil Kings next play Wednesday vs. Victoria.

Lethbridge 3 @Calgary 1

If you were the Calgary Hitmen going into Sunday evening’s intra-division tilt with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, there was on big thing that you had to do have written down as a key to win the game. That was to not let the Lethbridge power play on the ice.

The Hurricanes man advantage unit was 11/29 coming in and thus operating at a 38% clip. Instead of obtaining that goal, the Hitmen gave the ‘Canes seven power plays and had them score the deciding two goals on them, as they fell 3-1.

Jakob Stukel actually staked his team to an early lead with a goals cored 3:22 into the game.

Then, on one of those power plays we spoke of, the Hurricanes broke through to tie the game 7:08 into the second period. Giorgio Estephan scored that goal, his fourth of the year. Jordy Bellerive would then notch the deciding goal, also on the man advantage with 11:43 left in regulation.

Zane Franklin aded an empty-net goal late to put the game away 3-1.

Nick Schneider was good for 34 stops on 36 shots, while Lethbridge’s Stuart Skinner stopped 30 of 31.

Lethbridge takes on Swift Current next on Friday, while Calgary will head to Red Deer Friday.

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Brandon Rivers

Longtime Portland Winterhawks' blogger on hodgesheroes.blogspot.com. I also write for SB Nation on the for the Seattle Sin Bin at http://www.sonicsrising.com/seattle-sin-bin. Further, I have a Seattle-sports podcast over at 206sportsjocks.com Originally from the Portland area, now living in Seattle. Proud husband and Father.