By Woodard, Dale on March 3, 2020.
It was a tough road to second place in the South Division for the Lethbridge Headwater midget 15 Hurricanes.
But they got there.
Needing just one point to secure second in the Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League South Division, the Canes did just that, posting a 3-3 tie with the Okotoks Oilers Sunday afternoon at the Logan Boulet Arena in their final game of the regular season.
The tie gave the Canes a 25-5-7 record, nudging them one point ahead of the AC Avalanche, who Lethbridge battled to a 4-4 tie Saturday, as Lethbridge now gears up for the Sutter Cup starting Thursday in Calgary.
On Sunday, the Hurricanes nearly handed Okotoks their second loss of the season before the Oilers notched the equalizer with the extra attacker with 33 seconds remaining.
The surrendered late goal aside, the Hurricanes grabbed the point they needed and finished off a gruelling final weekend of the regular season with three games in as many days that started with a 2-1 loss to the Calgary CNHA Blazers Friday night in Calgary.
“I thought for us playing our third game in three nights we played very well,” said Hurricanes head coach Geoff Oster.
“The boys paid attention to the small things, the little details, and they did what they had to do. We should’ve won that game, but it was a bad bounce at the very end. But I thought the boys played really well.”
The Canes got first-period goals from Sheldon Sawyer and Malachai North Peigan before Brett Lambert added another in the second for a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
The Oilers secured the tie in the final minute when Philip Raycroft scored with a little over 30 seconds to go.
Joshua Alberda and Aidan McArthur added the other Oilers goals.
Hurricanes goaltender Kaiden Fulton made 32 saves, while in the Okotoks crease, Allen Fanning kicked out 20 shots.
“Honestly, they were fresh this weekend they only had one game and we had three,” said North Peigan. “So I’d say we left it all in a tank and left it all out there.”
On Friday in Calgary, the Hurricanes gave up two goals to the Blazers in the second period to fall behind 2-0.
Caden Heins scored in the third period for the Hurricanes, but the visitors were unable to net the equalizer.
Fulton made 32 saves in the loss.
In the showdown between the two teams battling for second Saturday at the Logan Boulet Arena, the Canes trailed 4-2 after two periods.
Vann Yuhas cut the deficit to one 6:42 into the third and North Peigan netted the game-tying goal with 6:55 remaining.
Peyton Twigg and Sawyer scored in the first period for Lethbridge.
Twigg, Yuhas and North Peigan each added one assist for a two-point afternoon.
Fulton made 18 saves.
On Sunday, the Canes completed the three-games-in-two-and-a-half-days grind with the point they needed for second place.
“It’s a battle,” said Hurricanes defenceman Carter Cook. “Going three games and you have to play the number-one team in the last game, I think we held our own. We battled hard and we shut them down pretty good.”
Next up is the post season and the Sutter Cup.
The Canes schedule starts Thursday in a pool in which they’ll face the Calgary CNHA Canucks (20-13-4), Medicine Hat SEAC Tigers (11-18-8) and the Calgary CRAA Blue (7-25-5).
See Wednesday’s Herald for a preview.
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