Big couple of weeks for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, a schedule loaded with divisional games, the trade deadline came and went. So its time to take a moment to look back on what has happened this week and preview what is to come this weekend.
After being acquired from Seattle, goaltender Liam Hughes made his Hurricanes home debut last Friday (January 4th) where he stood on his head making 33 saves on route to a 4-3 win over the visiting Vancouver Giants. Jake Elmer lead the way offensively with two goals and an assist while Taylor Ross added a goal and two assists as the 20-year-old helped propel the ‘Canes to the win. The victory for the Hurricanes ended a two-game losing streak and improved their record 20-10-4-4 on the season.
Lethbridge then travelled for an afternoon game in Edmonton on Sunday (January 6th) against the Oil Kings for a chance to take over the division lead. Hughes would start his third straight for the ‘Canes and would once again provide terrific goaltending stopping 39 shots and earning another victory.
The win improved his record to 2-0-1-0 has a Hurricane. Dylan Cozens lead the way for the visitors scoring on the power play and adding two helpers along the way to the 5-2 win and the lead of the central. One of Cozens assists was to Taylor Ross’ game-winning goal, Ross now with 23 goals in the season. The win for the Hurricanes was their second straight victory as they improved to 12-2-2-2 in their last 18 games in what has been an incredible run.
The Hurricanes would play one more game before the trade deadline hit. On Wednesday evening (January 9th) another divisional game had the Kootenay Ice paying a visit to the Enmax Centre. The ‘Canes would dominate almost every aspect of the game from start to finish but only managed to beat Ice netminder Jesse Makaj for three goals on 54 shots. Fortunately for the Hurricanes that was enough to beat the visitors 3-2. Dylan Cozens, Jordy Bellerive and Jake Elmer all scored in the victory, Elmer’s game-winner was his 19th goal of the season. Carl Tetatchuk would get the win in goal with a pretty good performance stopping 20 of 22 shots he faced. Going long stretches without seeing a shot, Tetatchuk showed mental focus. Lethbridge went scoreless on their only power play but were a perfect four-for-four on the penalty kill. The win for the Hurricanes was their second straight victory as they improved to 13-3-2-2 in their last 20 games and 22-10-4-4 on the season, headed into the weekend atop the central division.
Thursday was trade deadline day. Now while the Hurricanes didn’t pull the trigger on a deal before the 3 pm local time deadline, they did make a roster move recalling offensive defencemen Rylan Thiessen from Midget AAA in Brandon. He’s a 17-year-old. GM Peter Anholt did manage earlier in the weeks leading up to the deadline to pull off a couple trades. Lethbridge acquired forwards Jake Leschyshyn and Nick Henry from the Regina Pats for Jadon Joseph, Ty Kolle and a bevvy of draft picks back in November. He also added goaltender Liam Hughes from the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for forwards Keltie Jeri-Leon, Michael Huron and a 4th round pick last week. The ‘Canes also acquired 19-year-old forward Scott Mahovlich, along with an eighth-round draft pick in 2019 from the Regina Pats, in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2019. Chips are in now heading down the stretch.
Looking ahead to this weekend the Hurricanes will embark another three-in-three weekend. All three games will be against two other central division teams.
Friday night, Jan. 11th they continue a three-game homestand on as they welcome the Oil Kings for the final time this season in Lethbridge.
Saturday, Jan. 12th the Hurricanes welcome the Kootenay Ice for the second time this week
Sunday afternoon, Jan 13th the ‘Canes will make their final regular season trip to the Alberta capital to face the Edmonton Oil Kings for the third time this week.