From one busy week right into the next, there is no rest for the Lethbridge Hurricanes as the playoff push and division race are in full flight. The Hurricanes welcomed the relocated Winnipeg ICE for a double-dip before heading out on the road for a date with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Looking ahead, Lethbridge will battle its final opponent from the US Division and get set for another busy weekend.
The Hurricanes returned home after playing nine games in nine different cities (just one home game), going 7-2-0-0. Glad to be home, the Hurricanes welcomed the Winnipeg ICE both Friday and Saturday night.
Friday night was the Dylan Cozens show. The seventh overall 2019 NHL Draft pick of the Buffalo Sabers put on a show, recording his fifth career hat trick and adding an assist for a four-point night. With those three goals, Cozens retook the team goal-scoring lead from Oliver Okuliar with 32. The Hurricanes also got two points from Calen Addison in the victory as they beat the ICE 5-4. Former Hurricanes goalie Liam Hughes returned to the city for the first time since leaving Lethbridge shortly after being acquired at the trade deadline last season. Carl Tetachuk was steady, making 22 save for his team-leading 19th victory
The rematch Saturday was a much different story as the visiting Ice controlled the game pretty much start to finish. They were led by Jakin Smallwood and Michael Milne who both had a goal and a helper on the night, en route to the 5-2 win. Hughes stood tall with 37 saves for the win. Bryan Thomson was chased in the second period of this game after giving up four goals on 15 shots, Tetachuk came in to mop up making 12 saves on 13 shots faced. The one bright spot was Ty Nash recorded the first home goal of his WHL career – his fifth of the season.
Lethbridge traveled up north to cap off the long weekend with an afternoon matchup against the division-leading Oil Kings. The Hurricanes won the previous two meetings between the clubs but that would not be the case this time. The Hurricanes fell behind 3-1 and 5-2 and were unable to bounce back or contain Josh Williams. The former Tiger, recorded a hat trick that included the game-winner. Tetachuk was once again in goal for the windy city, recording 39 saves in a losing cause. Beck Warm earned this win with 27 saves. Brett Davis was the offensive leader for the visitors, recording two goals as the Hurricanes dropped their second in-a-row.
The Hurricanes will get no rest as the tough schedule will continue. Wednesday night the Hurricanes will welcome the last of their U.S. division opponents this season. Those teams only come into town once every other season. The Spokane Chiefs will make their way through town. The Chiefs are 32-18-4-1 coming into this mid-week game including 7-3-0-0 in their last ten games. Spokane’s Adam Beckman is the WHL leading scorer. He sports 92 points including 41 goals in 54 games played. That is 18 points more than Hurricanes point leader Dylan Cozens who has 73 points in just 43 games played. Cozens sits fifth in WHL scoring. It should be a fun affair in Lethbridge as the Chiefs also have gold medal winner Ty Smith on their blueline. Smith won that gold with Cozens and Addison on Team Canada.
The Hurricanes only have the one game on the weekend, as on Friday night, the Moose Jaw Warriors will travel through for their final matchup this season. Lethbridge defeated Moose Jaw a couple of weeks ago 7-1 when they were on their seven-game road trip out east. The Hurricanes are a perfect 3-0-0-0 against the Warriors this season.
Cozens hit career point 200 on the team’s last road trip. He now sits at 211 WHL points and is 11 goals away from 100 in the league.
Addison also has hit the 200 career point total and sits nine away from 50 WHL goals.
Alex Cotton currently has some nice round numbers for his career — 70 career points with 20 of those goals and 50 assists in 114 career games.
Davis hit 300 WHL games played Saturday night vs the ICE. He has recorded 189 points in those games.
Despite the loss Monday afternoon, the Hurricanes still clinched a playoff berth thanks to the loss by the Regina Pats. This will be the fifth straight season in the postseason, all under coach Brent Kisio. Lethbridge sits in the second spot in the Central Division and eight points behind Edmonton for the top spot.
Addison is on the move — no not in the WHL. Addison was part of a big trade in the NHL. His rights, along with a first-round pick and Alex Galchenyuk, were sent from the Penguins to the Wild for Jason Zucker.