By Lethbridge Herald on February 15, 2020.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes weren’t able to ice the Ice twice.
Facing the Winnipeg Ice for the second time in a many nights, the Canes were defeated 5-2 in Western Hockey League play Saturday night at the Enmax Centre, ending a five-game winning streak.
After posting a 5-4 win in the weekend-opener Friday night, the Hurricanes had a goal that would have tied the game 3-3 in the second period waved off.
The Ice added one more goal in the second and another in the third to salvage the weekend split.
But the playoff atmosphere was evident in front of an announced crowd of 5,013 between the two teams who had played each other twice in a 24-hour span.
“It was a hard-fought game,” said Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio.
“They came out hard and we have a goal that goes in the net and for whatever reason it’s called back. We never really got a reason why it was. I don’t know, it happens. But it was a big part of the game.”
Like Friday night, the Ice hit the board first when Michael Milne took advantage of a turnover and promptly snapped it past Canes goaltender Bryan Thomson for a 1-0 lead 3:01 into the game.
The Hurricanes evened it up on Ty Nash’s fifth of the season when the rookie forward sent a wrist shot high and past Winnipeg goaltender Liam Hughes 6:36 in to make it 1-1.
The Ice went back up on a power play goal from Isaac Johnson with 5:08 left in the first, but Lethbridge sent the teams into the first intermission tied 2-2. Alex Thacker scored with 19 seconds left in the opening period, taking a behind-the-net feed from Dylan Cozens and sending the water bottle flying.
Winnipeg went back up 3-2 on a deflection from Owen Pederson on a delayed call to the Hurricanes 4:30 into the second.
The Hurricanes thought they had the game-tying goal shortly afterwards with Cozens on the doorstep off a shot from Alex Cotton. The scoreboard video showed the puck crossing the line after Hughes got a glove on it, but the goal was waved off. After a review, the call stood as Winnipeg maintained their one-goal lead.
“He said he thought it was under his pad,” said Kisio of the explanation. “That’s what he said, so that’s the way it goes.
“It was a one-goal game at that point and we have to respond better and do a better job fighting (to get) back in.”
The visitors doubled their lead at 10:37 of the second when Jakin Smallwood tapped home a gimme off a rebound for a 4-2 lead that ended Thomson’s night as Carl Tetachuk took over in the crease.
Winnipeg rounded out the scoring on Nino Kinder’s 10th of the season 2:34 into the third.
“The tensions were high and the Hockey Gods really weren’t with us today,” said Hurricanes defenceman and captain Ty Prefontaine, who had two assists Saturday night. “But we have to grit that out when we’re down like that. It’s the playoff mentality going into the future.”
The Hurricanes outshot the Ice 39-28.
“We had a lot of shots, we just have to get in front of the goalie and create more chances,” said Nash. “We had lots of outside shots, but we have to get to the net and get in front of his eyes.”
The Canes pushed back with some late chances in the second after the waved off goal, but were unable to get any closer to the Ice.
“We were all kind of fired up about it, it probably should’ve been a goal,” said Nash. “But we had a big pushback and lots of guys were up on the bench. There was lots of positive stuff on the bench.”
Lethbridge managed 12 more shots in the third.
“We just have to get around the net more,” said Kisio. “I thought we were passing up too many shots early. We know if we put the puck on the net there would be a lot of rebounds. We just had to get around the net more and we didn’t do a good enough job of that.”
Thomson stopped 11 of 15 shots and Tetachuk turned aside 12 of 13.
Hughes made 37 saves for the Ice.
The Canes powerplay was 0-for-1, while the Ice were 1-for-4.
Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter