Taylor Ross picked a good time to get his first goal of the playoff as he capped off a goal-filled game, in overtime, to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 7-6 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. The win tied the series 3-3 and forced “a winner take all” Game 7. 13 different players scored goals as the teams threw their defensive plans to the wayside.
Game 6 started with fireworks as just a minute in the Hitmen got the party started on a Kaden Elder shot. This goal gave the Hitmen an early 1-0 lead.
It only took 1:08 for the Hurricanes to respond as Zachary Cox would find a way to put it home. It was an unassisted goal and we were off and running early in this one.
Lethbridge kept the pressure up and took their first lead of the contest when Dylan Cozens slapped home his fourth of the series off a Jake Elmer pass. The visitors built on their momentum and earned a powerplay chance where they would make no mistake. Captain Jordy Bellerive converted on the man-advantage to give his team a two-goal lead. Jake Leschyshyn and Calen Addison drew helpers on the play.
Calgary on their heels would weather the storm and managed to find an answer on a powerplay of their own. Cael Zimmerman fired home his second of the playoffs. Captain Mark Kastelic received the lone helper. A five-goal period came to an end with the Hurricanes up 3-2 and a lead on the shot clock at 13-12.
Calgary managed to find a way to tie this game five minutes into the middle frame. Devan Klassen tapped one through Carl Tetachuk. Defensemen Dakota Krebs and Jackson van de Leest with the assists.
From there it was mostly Hurricanes as they peppered goalie Jack McNaughton who stood tall in the Hitmen goal.
Jake Elmer came closest to beating the local netminder when his wrister found a way through but rang off the bar.
Emotions would run high through much of the second period to set the stage for a big final frame.
The Hurricanes received an early powerplay 2:21 into the period and they wasted little time has Nick Henry put the puck through McNaughton’s five-hole and gave the windy city a 4-3 lead.
The compete level ramped up for the home side as they fought to tie the game. Unbelievable amounts of pressure led to a Ryder Korczak snapshot goal, James Malm set up the play at the 11:12 mark.
We hit reset again on the game with the teams tied at four.
The tie did not last long as the Hurricanes went back to work on another powerplay and 19-year-old Jake Leschyshyn buried his sixth goal in the series and made it a 5-4 game. Taylor Ross and Addison were given the helpers.
But yet again a quick response from the Hitmen, James Malm fired his second of the series pass a sprawled Tetachuk to make it 5-5 at the 13:05 mark.
Four minutes after tying up the game the Hitmen took the lead on Kastleic’s fourth goal of the playoffs.
The Hitmen captain was open in front and was allowed to take three whacks at it before he popped it in and it was 6-5 Hitmen late in the game.
The Hurricanes were not done though as they pressed with the goalie pulled. A Calen Addison blast from the point would find its way through everybody. Addison’s second goal of the series sent this game into extra time.
Overtime wouldn’t last long as Taylor Ross played the hero. He wrapped it around the far post beating McNaughton for the victory forcing Game 7. That was Ross’ first goal of the postseason. Logan Barlage and Scott Mahovlich earned the assists. Final shots read 41-33 for Lethbridge.
Shooting the breeze: Despite all the goals, both goalies were actually quite good. McNaughton made 34 stops while Tetachuk had 27 saves. Powerplays came in at 3-for-4 for the Hurricanes and only 1-on-4 for the Hitmen. Both Calen Addison and Jake Leschyshyn ended the game with one goal and three assists to lead the way while the Hitmen were led by Cael Zimmerman’s goal and two assists.
Game seven history for these two clubs (info from Jeff Hollick of DUBNetwork), Lethbridge is 6-0 including going 2-0 in 2017. Calgary is 5-5, their last game 7 was a win in 2015 vs Kootenay.
Game 7 is Tuesday night again at the Nicholas Shearn ice arena in Lethbridge.