By Lethbridge Herald on March 5, 2020.
The Lethbridge midget AAA Hurricanes and the Calgary Flames are going the distance.
In a flurry of goals, the Canes made sure of that with an 8-2 win in Game 4 of the teams’ second-round Alberta Midget Hockey League division semifinal playoff series Wednesday night at the Logan Boulet Arena.
With the win the Hurricanes tie the best-of-five series at 2-2 and set the table for the deciding Game 5 Friday in Calgary at Father David Bauer Arena. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
On Thursday, Lethbridge took a 4-2 lead after two periods and kept the pedal down in the final 20 minutes with four more goals to post the win despite being outshot 35-27. Hurricanes goaltender Ty Young turned in a 33-save performance.
Rylan Bruns scored twice in the second period and Cole Larocque also added a pair, while J.D. Hall, Emmanuel Hudson, Nolan Price and Derrien Tonin added one each for Lethbridge.
Now, it’s back to Calgary for the deciding game in a series which has benefitted the home side through the first four games.
“We stuck to our game plan and gave ourselves a chance,” said Hurricanes head coach Sean Gillam. “Really, all we’ve done is given ourselves the opportunity to play one more game. Both teams have held serve in their building and now it’s up to somebody to win a road game. We’ll get our rest tonight and then go in there and stick to our game plan and hopefully give ourselves a chance.”
The Flames took a 1-0 lead late in the first on a goal from Kayden Smith on a delayed penalty call with 1:22 left, but the Canes sent the teams into the first intermission tied at 1-1 when Larocque finished off some tic-tac-toe passing with seven seconds left.
Calgary went up 2-1 5:56 into the second on a power-play goal from Tyson Gross, but then the hosts took over on the scoresheet.
Bruns tied it at 2-2 8:02 on a rebound. Hall made it 3-2 and Bruns added his second of the game with 1:43 left in the second for a 4-2 lead.
“I think the boys were an little bit upset about the result in our last game,” said Bruns. “So we came in with a lot more motivation and we knew what we needed to do to get the job done. We played a strong defensive game and had some good offensive chances that we created.”
Hudson scored on the power play to start the third, Larocque added his second, Price scored on a two-on-nothing and Tonin ended the night with a top-shelf bullet.
“We just look at it (as) sticking to the process and sticking to our game plan and good things will happen,” said Gillam. “Fortunately tonight we found the net. There have been games where we played really well and haven’t found the net.”
Hopefully that will bode well for Friday in Calgary.
“Now we’re going to have a lot more confidence going into the fifth game because we just came off a big-scoring game,” said Bruns. “It should open some offence in the fifth game, too. So we’ll see how it goes.”
On Friday, the Hurricanes will have to find a way to win inside the Father David Bauer Arena, a feat that has thus far eluded them, if they wish to advance.
“I think it comes down to one of those games where you have to play to your game plan and be lucky,” said Gillam. “Both teams are good and both teams have played hard and it seems like the bounces have gone the way of the home team.”
“They play on a big ice surface,” added Bruns. “So I think we’re going to need to adapt to that ice surface and stay on the defensive side of the puck as much as we can because odd-man rushes will make us struggle. We just need to get pucks to the net.”
The winner of Friday’s game will advance to face the Calgary Buffaloes in the South Division final. The Buffaloes swept the Calgary Northstars 3-0 in the other division semifinal.