The Lethbridge Hurricanes welcomed back a couple of familiar faces Saturday night. Brett Davis made his home return to the Hurricanes lineup and former Hurricane D-Jay Jerome suited up for his new squad, the Swift Current Broncos. It was a big night from Davis who led the way with two goals for the home team on the way to a 7-2 triumph at the Enmax Centre. Jerome was held pointless in his first game vs his old mates.
Lethbridge got off to a quick start in an unlikely fashion. While shorthanded, defenceman Koletrane Wilson found space that led to him on a breakaway where he made no mistake for his fifth of the season. Wilson gave all the credit to Justin Hall for finding him. “What an unbelievable pass from Hallsy,” Wilson said with enthusiasm.
The Hurricanes continued to control play as they built up a 10-0 shot advantage. Then, Zach Stringer was able to keep his balance while being tripped and went in all alone to snap a shot that got behind Isaac Poulter. The goal was Stringer’s sixth of the season.
Swift Current didn’t seem to have an answer.
The Hurricanes added one more before the end of the period on a mad scramble in front. Poulter was caught out of position, and Chase Wheatcroft collected the loose puck and fired home his fifth of the season. The home side, seemingly scoring at will while controlling the play, led 3-0 at the break and outshot the Broncos 12-3.
The beginning of the second period was a bit of a different story. Swift Current came out on a mission. After only three shots in the opening period, they doubled that output in the first 4:36 of the second and capped it off by breaking the shutout bid of Bryan Thomson. Jaxan Kaluski tallied his 10th of the season.
But it didn’t take long for the Hurricanes to respond. A mere 90 seconds later, rookie defenceman Chase Pauls fired it home and recorded his first WHL career goal to restore the three-goal lead.
The theme of this game then set back in. Lethbridge controlled the play, not taking any chances or giving the Broncos much to work with. Both teams did manage to add one more goal each. Broncos forward Justin Svenson tapped home his second of the season to temporarily pull his team within two before a Brett Davis slap shot on the power play put the Hurricanes back up three at 5-2. Shots after two were 26-12.
The third period didn’t change the flow of the game much. The feeling in the rink was that the Hurricanes just needed skate this one out, and that’s what they did. An early Brett Davis goal — his second of the night and 11th on the season — put this game away.
Logan Barlage added one more before the final whistle — his 15th of the year — to make the final 7-2.
Coach Kisio was pleased with his team after the game. “I thought we played a real solid game, a little unfocused to start the second period and that’s gonna happen, but we responded right away, finished it off.”
Kisio went on to praise his group and the way they played without Dylan Cozens and Calen Addison while staying focused around the trade deadline. Kisio then said, “You know, we have such a good group here. And I think everyone kind of wanted to keep it the same way. We brought Davis, obviously played a great game tonight. And then we also have, you know, a couple of guys from World Juniors still to return.”
Shooting the breeze:
Special teams didn’t play much of a role in this one. The Broncos were 0-2 on the power play and the Hurricanes 1-4.
The win gives Bryan Thomson 14 in 19 starts. He only needed 19 saves for the win in this one. Isaac Poulter was much busier on the night, managing 27 saves in a losing effort.
Great quote from Koletrane Wilson after this game today, joking about his breakaway: “Think it’s the first one I’ve had since peewee.” The stay-at-home defencemen was all grins. He also went on to praise fellow defencemen Pauls on his first goal. “That’s exciting. Obviously you know I remember my first and it’s an amazing time and, you know, I think it’s exciting to think of the future in Lethbridge.”
Brett Davis, who was named the first star, was asked what it was like to be back with the Hurricanes after being re-acquired earlier in the week. “Super Excited, it’s been awesome so far!” quipped Davis with a huge grin on his face.
Hurricanes also honoured Oliver Okuliar prior to puck drop for his World Juniors appearance for team Slovakia and also for his 100th CHL game.
Next up for the Hurricanes is another home game on Friday, when they welcome the Red Deer Rebels. It is also expected that both Cozens and Addison will return to the lineup.