By Jensen, Randy on January 3, 2020.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes look to start off the new decade the way they left the old one as they host the Seattle Thunderbirds in Western Hockey League play tonight at 7 p.m. at the Enmax Centre.
After ending 2019 with three wins in a row, the Hurricanes look to keep that going and stay in the heated Central Division race.
Heading into tonight’s game, the Hurricanes are 23-10-0-5 and riding a three-game winning streak that has allowed them to take sole possession of second place in the Central Division, three points ahead of the 23-11-1-1 Medicine Hat Tigers and six points back of the 25-7-5-2 Edmonton Oil Kings.
The Thunderbirds pull into town at 13-19-2-1, two points back of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference behind the Tri-City Americans (13-16-4-1). They are coming off 4-1 and 3-2 losses in a home-and-home series with the Portland Winterhawks, their last win coming Dec. 27 in a 9-5 victory over the Spokane Chiefs.
The Hurricanes have started the post-Christmas portion of their schedule on small winning streak. They downed the Calgary Hitmen 5-4 in overtime and defeated the Swift Current Broncos 6-0 and 3-1 in a home-and-home series.
The Hurricanes remain without leading scorers Dylan Cozens and Oliver Okuliar and defenceman Calen Addison, who are at the World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic.
In that time, centre Logan Barlage has nicely filled the void with three goals and eight points in the past three games to give the product of Humboldt, Sask., 13 goals and 34 points in 36 games.
Forward Alex Thacker also brings a three-point streak into tonight’s game with five points, including three assists in the win over the Hitmen.
Defenceman Alex Cotton continues his career year with points in nine of his last 10 games, putting up four goals and 11 points in that time to lead WHL blue-liners with 40 points in 38 games.
Rookie forward Chase Wheatcroft had three assists in Saturday’s win over the Broncos and five points since the Christmas break.
Overage defenceman Koletrane Wilson has a four-game point streak heading into tonight.
Seattle is led by right winger Andrej Kukuca’s 11 goals and 29 points in 35 games, while former Hurricane Keltie Jeri-Leon leads the Thunderbirds in goals with 12.
The Hurricanes return to the Enmax Centre Saturday when they host the Hitmen at 7 p.m.
NOTES: With the WHL trade deadline approaching, the Hitmen and Americans swung a deal Thursday. The Hitmen sent forward James Malm to the Americans in exchange for centre Kyle Olson, a second-round pick in the 2020 WHL bantam draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2022.
On Wednesday, the Oil Kings acquired goaltender Beck Warm and Riley Stuart from the Americans for Carter Gylander, Cade Littler and second and fourth-round picks in the 2021 bantam draft.