Hurricanes 7 Rebels 4
Defence was optional Friday night at the Centrium.
It was a Western Hockey League track meet from the hop with eight goals on 20 shots in just 20 minutes between the Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Lethbridge pulled starting goalie Bryan Thomson six minutes into the game after allowing three goals on the first five shots and when the first shot went in on his partner Carl Tetachuk, they took over and never looked back.
The Hurricanes scored six unanswered goals on the way to a 7-4 victory, their first of the 24-game shortened season.
“I thought we lacked our battle and compete. We lost a lot of battles. Defensively, very erratic,” Rebels GM and head coach Brent Sutter said of his group’s effort.
“You get into these games and it’s a read pretty quickly on who picked things up through the week and who didn’t. We’ve worked hard in practice and did a lot of things with details and defensive coverage. Just all the elements in the game you have to have to be successful and we have a hard time implementing in the game.”
Although Lethbridge opened the scoring, Red Deer notched four straight goals in just four and a half minutes –Ethan Rowland buried his second of the year off the rush, Arshdeep Bains found twine from the slot after a turnover behind the Hurricanes’ net and Carter Anderson chased Thomson with his first career WHL goal.
Even at that moment, the head coach didn’t love what he saw.
“Let’s not forget how two or three of those goals went in. I didn’t think we played very well even when we were up 4-1. I thought we were just okay,” Sutter said.
“We were turning the puck over and we just got some lucky breaks where the goalie just missed pucks. I wasn’t really impressed with our team game at all.”
It was shades of the home opener from there– Red Deer surrendered four unanswered goals in the final 10 minutes and overtime in a 5-4 loss that night.
Friday, Red Deer allowed five straight to the Hurricanes, over the span of 10 minutes, starting with 5:46 left in first. Lethbridge tied the game at four with eight seconds left in the first and scored again 34 seconds into the second.
Jett Jones buried his second of the night to cap the scoring in the third. Chase Wheatcroft also netted a pair and Alex Thacker, Ty Nash, Dino Kambeitz and Justin Hall all had two assists for Lethbridge. Tetachuk made 24 saves in the victory and Anders turned aside 22 shots in the loss.
Rebels captain Jayden Grubbe left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury after hitting his knee awkwardly into the boards. He returned briefly in the second before missing the rest of the game. Sutter said they’ll know more once the centre has an MRI.
“We’ll just have to see. At this point, it’s hard to say what it might be or could be,” he said.
Three stars: (1) Chase Wheatcroft, (2) Carter Anderson, (3) Carl Tetachuk.
The Rebels and Hurricanes play Saturday in Lethbridge, before finishing the three-in-three Sunday in Red Deer.