Despite a third period comeback from the Calgary Hitmen, a late Brett Davis goal was enough to lift the Lethbridge Hurricanes above the Calgary Hitmen 6-4 on Sunday. The divisional contest also featured a physical style of play from both benches that led to poor discipline from time to time. The Hitmen tested Bryan Thomson with 37 shots, but Calgary was ultimately unable to even the contest.
A slow start for the Hitmen saw Lethbridge netminder Thomson face his first shot nearly eight minutes into the game. Brayden Peters meanwhile had already been tested several times making a few significant stops. Just before the midway mark of the frame, Calen Addsion’s point slap shot fooled Peters for the Hurricane lead. Riley Fiddler-Schultz soon after was penalized for hooking giving the Hurricanes another prime advantage on their second power play of the day. Off a nifty pass from Dylan Cozens, Oliver Okuliar wired his team leading 31st of the year beating Peters high glove side from the left faceoff circle. With just over two minutes remaining in the first, Calgary was sent to their first power play of the game. With only seconds left in both the Hitmen man advantage and the period, it was Jett Woo creeping in from the left point who cut the deficit to one with a hard snap shot. Despite generating just a single even strength shot, the Hitmen escaped the period down a single goal.
The Hitmen opened the second frame with a stronger start maintaining puck possession deep in the Lethbridge zone with effective cycling which allowed for far more shots. Just after the middle mark of the game, Calgary had evened up shots at 15. It was just minutes later however, that Alex Cotton snuck a wrist shot under the left pad of Peters for his 17th of the campaign. The Hurricanes did not stop there as Ty Nash tallied his fourth on the breakaway to give Lethbridge a three goal lead with over five remaining in the second. Late in the frame, Oliver Okuliar called for a hooking infraction giving Calgary opportunity on the so far perfect power play. The Hurricanes managed to kill off nearly half of the penalty to Okuliar and headed to the dressing room with a three goal lead.
The Hurricanes killed the remainder of the penalty to Okuliar to start the final frame. Early on, tensions began to fume with several heated scrums including a battle between Davis and Kyle Olson that ended up with both being penalized for roughing. Halfway through the coincidental penalties Oliver Okuliar and Koletrane Wilson were both penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. This allowed Carson Focht to cut the Lethbridge lead to two as the forward walked into the high slot and ripped a hard wrist shot past the shoulder of Bryan Thomson. Unfortunately for Calgary, Luke Prokop was sent to the box less than 30 seconds later. The undisciplined play of the Hitmen continued to look to hinder Calgary’s chances of evening the game, however, Mark Kastelic showed otherwise. The captain threw a puck on net from the right far hash mark area that snuck through the five hole of Thomson. In scoring, Kastelic snapped a four game goalless drought while pulling his team to within one goal of the Hurricanes. Moments after a huge glove save from Brayden Peters off a hard Dylan Cozens shot, Kastelic struck again to tie the game. The Hurricanes however, were quick to respond as Alex Cotton won an important puck battle that allowed Logan Barlage to feed Davis who potted the fifth Lethbridge goal to regain the lead. With time winding down, Calgary pressed the Hurricanes and threw anything they could on Thomson. With Calgary using its timeout and a yawning Hitmen crease, despite an aggressive push, Zack Stringer sealed the deal with an empty netter.
The Hitmen will look to rebound on Wednesday when they play host to the Regina Pats in their final meeting of the season.
- In six games against the Hitmen this season, Alex Cotton has registered four goals and an assist. Cotton is in the midst of a career season posting 17 goals and 40 assists for 57 points in 52 games.
- The Hitmen have scored just 48 of their 162 goals in the first period this season.