Hurricanes 5 Rebels 2 (Saturday)
Hurricanes 8 Rebels 5 (Monday)
The goals came in bunches – defence, not so much.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes got the last laugh in an 8-5 victory over the Red Deer Rebels Monday night, in the series finale of the three-game set.
Red Deer hung with their division rival for 40 minutes and with the game tied at four, Lethbridge scored four times in the third to hand the Rebels their ninth straight loss.
“You gotta be able to stick to the plan. We’re shorthanded obviously with who we have available but we’ve shown we can play with teams for stretches. You just have to be able to stick to it,” said Rebels assistant Ryan Colville, who is handling the coaching duties along with Brad Flynn and assistant GM Shaun Sutter after Brent Sutter stepped down Saturday morning.
“You keep playing your way and good things will happen. What happens too often is we lose our focus and we’ll play good for fifteen minutes and bad for five.”
Although it wasn’t quite enough, Ben King, Arshdeep Bains and new winger Kalan Lind combined for eight 10 points in the loss.
King had pair of goals and two helpers, Bains had a goal and three assists and Lind added a goal and assist. Lind, 16, moved to the wing to play with two of the Rebels’ leading goal scorers from last year and the trio was dangerous all night.
“They were dynamic all night, obviously scoring but they also had zone time. They were just dangerous all game,” added Colville.
Justin Hall led the way for Lethbridge with two goals and three assists and both Liam Kindree and Alex Thacker notched a trio of assists.
The high-paced contest kicked off with a flurry of goals midway through the first period, with three goals in just over a minute and a half. Zack Stringer opened the scoring before Hall buried on the power play 36 seconds later.
Lind cut the deficit in half just 65 seconds after that, his second career WHL goal.
Cotton restored the two-goal advantage, with a goal 5-on-3. It was the Hurricanes’ seventh power-play goal of the three-game WHL Central division series.
With less than a minute left in the first, Bains helped the Rebels get within a goal, setting up King with a wide-open net after a great cross-crease pass.
Ethan Rowland tied the game at three earlier in the third but Lethbridge responded less than a minute later to restore the lead.
Bains, who was a beast in the contest, then brought the Rebels even late in the second with a rocket on the power play.
Red Deer outshot the Hurricanes 17-8 in the second period and look to have a bit of momentum on their side heading into the final frame.
“It all came from hard work and playing our system and everybody pulling the rope in the same direction. I thought at the beginning of the third we got away from it a bit. They turned it on, too,” said Colville.
Hall and Jett Jones had third-period goals, along with Trevor Thurston and Ty Nash.
Bryan Thomson finished with 29 saves in the win and Byron Fancy made 23 in the loss for Red Deer.
Red Deer dropped to 2-11-2 on the season and have nine games left in the abbreviated WHL season.
Saturday, the first game in nearly nine years without Brent Sutter, Red Deer got off to a strong start but were bested the rest of the way in a 5-2 loss in Lethbridge.
Jhett Larson buried his first career WHL goal just six minutes in the game but the Hurricanes responded with five straight goals from the midway point in the first to late in the second period. Justin Hall, Liam Kindree, Logan Barlage and Noah Boyko had the tallies.
Rebels defenceman Mason Ward notched his first of the year with 41 seconds left in the second.
Boyko rounded out the scoring in the third.
Lethbridge finished Saturday two-for-five on the power play and Red Deer was missed on all five man-advantage chances.
Ethan Anders had a strong night with 36 saves and Thomson stopped 32 shots in the victory.