Lethbridge, AB – With this stretch of four straight home games, the potential was there for the Lethbridge Hurricanes to win all four or at least come away with a trio of wins as three of the opponents (Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Vancouver) were all below them in the standings. The Hurricanes regrouped in a big way after a disappointing shootout loss to Swift Current on Saturday and received a huge boost with the return of Reid Duke and Ryan Pilon to the lineup as they returned from the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes would get things going in this game when Reid Duke (who did register 5 points in 5 games at the U17’s including 2 goals) would finally get the monkey off his back, scoring his first goal of the season when his picked the puck up from behind the Moose Jaw goal and wrapped it behind Justin Paulic to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. Late in the period Moose Jaw would get into some penalty trouble and the Canes would make them pay. On a 5-on-3 power play, a great cross-ice pass from Jay Merkley to Jaimen Yakubowski and he buried his team-leading 22nd of the season to put the Canes ahead 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.
In the second, the Warriors would come out gunning, looking to get back into the game, but Christopher Tai, who was only making his 4th start this season, came up with a number of big saves, especially late in the period to keep Moose Jaw off the score sheet. The Canes were unable to find the back of the net during the second and their 2-goal lead held up after 40 minutes.
In the third, the Warriors would cut the Canes lead in half when Brayden Point scored on the power play, making it a 2-1 game in favour of the Hurricanes. After that Lethbridge took over again with a pair of goals. Reid Duke (Macoy Erkamps) would score a highlight reel goal, moving through the Warriors defence and lifting a backhander over Paulic to give Lethbridge a 3-1 lead. Less than three minutes later, Yakubowski (Axel Blomqvist, Jay Merkley) notched his second of the night and 23rd of the season to give Lethbridge a 4-1 lead and that’s the way the game would end. Tai was superb in net making 40 saves to improve to 3-1 on the season. Lethbridge finished the game 1/7 on the power play and Moose Jaw was 1/5.
For game summary click here
Dickies Hardest Working Hurricane: Jay Merkley
Tonight’s 3 Stars: 3 – Jaimen Yakubowski, 2 – Christopher Tai, 1 – Reid Duke
The Hurricanes are back at it Wednesday, January 9th when they host the Vancouver Giants. Game time is 7:00pm with the pregame show on 94.1 CJOC with Pat Siedlecki starting at 6:30pm. At home or on the road you can follow your Lethbridge Hurricanes on Twitter @WHLHurricanes, play by play analysis @CanesCast or by checking out our website at www.lethbridgehurricanes.com. Fans can also follow us on our Official Facebook Page at facebook.com/WHLHurricanes or check out the game live on WHL Web TV.