By Yoos, Cam on December 5, 2019.
A sluggish outing has the Lethbridge Hurricanes on a skid.
The Hurricanes were topped 3-1 by the Everett Silvertips in Western Hockey League play Wednesday night at the Enmax Centre.
The loss comes 24 hours after an 8-3 road loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers that cost the Canes second place in the Central Division and is the team’s third straight setback after a 4-3 shootout loss to the Saskatoon Blades Friday.
Wednesday’s loss puts the Hurricanes at 17-9-0-4, one point behind the Tigers, who come to the Enmax Centre Friday night.
The Silvertips outshot the Hurricanes 28-14 through two periods as the teams skated into the second intermission tied 1-1. Gage Goncalves scored his first of two on the night early in the first for Everett and Oliver Okuliar replied on the power play with 4:09 left in the second for the Canes.
But a man-advantage goal by Goncalves 1:07 into the third and an insurance marker from Martin Fasko-Rudas was enough to earn the Silvertips the win. Everett outshot Lethbridge 37-24.
“They were the better team,” said Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio. “I thought they played harder and wanted more. A lot of aspects of their game were better than ours tonight.
“I just thought we looked tired and I don’t think there were many guys going for us tonight. We just couldn’t find our legs.”
The Silvertips struck early as Goncalves snapped a shot off the left wing past Canes goaltender Bryan Thomson for a 1-0 lead 2:35 in.
The Hurricanes nearly pulled even with 8:32 to go in the first, but forward Ty Nash was unable to get a handle on a partial breakaway chance.
Bryce Kindopp nearly gave the Silvertips a 2-0 lead before the first period was over, ringing a shot off the crossbar on a four-on-three with a little over two minutes to go.
The Hurricanes broke through on their 13th shot of the game late in the second when Okuliar scored on the power play for his league-leading 21st of the season, roofing a loose puck home off a scramble in the Everett crease.
But with Everett enjoying an early man advantage to start the third, Goncalves snapped home his second of the night off the right wing for the eventual game-winner.
“That’s not what we envisioned for tonight,” said Hurricanes defenceman Koletrane Wilson. “It was obviously a tough one (Tuesday) in Medicine Hat and we wanted to bounce back. I think for parts of the game we were definitely the better team, but for the full 60 they definitely had us tonight.”
Thomson kicked out 34 of 37 shots, including a breakaway chance late in the third and kicking out another chance seconds later off a giveaway.
“I thought he played pretty well,” said Kisio. “I think he would like to have the first one back and obviously the third one as well on the rim. But he played a good game and gave us a chance. There were a lot of shots in that second that could’ve went in.”
The Hurricanes get another shot at the Tigers on Friday and a chance to take back second place.
“It’s definitely adversity,” said Wilson. “That’s the word that has been tossed around in the room. It’s what makes the teams. We’re coming up to the second half so it’s a good time to get some adversity early and try to overcome it as a team and we’ll be good for the back half.”
The Silvertips power play was 1-for-4, while the Hurricanes were 1-for-3.
NOTES: The Hurricanes swung a deal Wednesday afternoon, sending defenceman Rylan Thiessen to the Brandon Wheat Kings in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft. In 22 games with the Hurricanes, Thiessen had three assists and was plus-four.
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