July 12th, 2024

One Hall of a night for the Hurricanes

By Dale Woodard on March 1, 2022.

With their parents and families watching, the Lethbridge Hurricanes got the bounce back they desperately needed.

Then with all those familiar faces looking on, Justin Hall went and flirted with some Western Hockey League history as the Hurricanes romped past the Medicine Hat Tigers 9-2 Saturday night at the Enmax Centre.

Hall scored twice in the first period, completed the hat trick bid early in the second and didn’t stop there, adding two more goals for five after 40 minutes.

The overage forward from Edmonton was held off the scoresheet in the third and fell two goals shy of tying the record for most WHL goals in a game with seven, but still became the first Hurricane to score five goals in a game since Jaimen Yakubowski did it back in 2012.

Though quintupled in the goal department compared to Hall, Canes defenceman Chase Pauls also got in the goal scoring brigade, netting his first of the season that made it 6-0 late in the second period.

It was a much-needed turnaround after the 8-1 dismantling the Canes were handed by the Calgary Hitmen Friday night at the Enmax Centre.

Lethbridge is now 21-24-2-1 and two points behind the Swift Current Broncos for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

So, had Hall ever had a five-goal game?

“Oh, maybe on the outdoor rink,” said the Canes forward with a grin. “In a regular game? I don’t think so.”

Hall added an assist for a six-point night. His five-goal outing gives him 28 on the season.

It also sends the Hurricanes out on a seven-game road trip on a winning note as the team turns the Enmax Centre over to the 2022 Brier, which starts Friday.

“It was a bad game (Friday) night, everybody knows it,” said Hall. “I played bad and a lot of guys played bad. We bounced back and that’s what you have to do if you want to be a successful hockey team and we proved it tonight.”

Lethbridge forward Tyson Laventure got things rolling 13:31 into the first period on a give-and-go with Ty Nash for his eighth of the season and a 1-0 lead.

Hall then drained four goals in a row to pace Lethbridge to a 5-0 lead by the 9:57 mark of the second.

Pauls then finally found the back of the net, sending a wrist shot past Tigers starting goaltender Garin Bjorklund that ended Bjorklund’s night as backup Zach Zahara came on in relief.

“The puck came off the wall and Nasher just fed it to the middle,” said Pauls of his goal. “I walked in and ripped it and it went in.”

Pauls then set up Hall for his fifth of the night and a 7-0 lead before the Tigers sniped a pair of late-second period goals.

Affiliated player Tomas Mrsic scored his first on a goal that went under video review before being ruled a goal and Bogdans Hodass scored on the power play with 1:31 left in the second to make it 7-2 Lethbridge heading into the second intermission.

Nash and Logan Wormald rounded out the scoring in the third.

“It was a special night,” said Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio of Hall’s six-point game. “From Day 1 he’s worked for everything he has gotten in here and earned everything and to come out tonight and respond after a game like (Friday) with our team, he drove us again. It was very special to see him go and get six points.”

And the Canes got two much-needed points and a rebound from the Hitmen shellacking.

“It was a big weekend and the families were all here,” said Kisio. “It’s a special weekend with the billets coming to the games, too. We wanted to show a little bit better than we did (Friday) night. We were a little bit embarrassed (Friday) night. We addressed it (Saturday) morning and then the response was indicative of that.”

With five goals through two periods, Hall was a popular target among his teammates in the third period in search of goals six and seven and a share of the record books.

“I think Laventure said he was trying to find me in that last shift the whole time,” said Hall. “But five is good enough for me. I’m just happy we got the win.”

“I think we were all kind of cheerleading for him,” added Kisio. “He was playing a heck of a game and we were talking on the bench that we thought he could get six when he had three. But he played a special night and we just wanted to keep feeding him and seeing if he could get some more. It was a hell of a performance.”

As the Brier gets ready to rock the Enmax Centre in the coming week, the Hurricanes hit the highway, starting Wednesday in Winnipeg against the Ice before moving on to Brandon to face the Wheat Kings Friday.

The rest of the road swing winds into Saskatchewan with two stops in Regina as well as games in Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.

The team is back at the Enmax Centre March 16 when the Pats pay a visit.

“We’re looking forward to it,” said Pauls of the road trip. “We need some points, so we really have to show up every single game and can’t take a day off. Hopefully we come out with a lot of points.”

Hall looked at the Hitmen loss as a blip on the radar.

“You take away that Calgary game, we’ve really played well in our last couple of weeks,” he said. “I’m really confident in our ability to have a good road trip. It’s going to be a long one, but I think we’re confident in our abilities right now and it’ll be a good one for us.”

Starting the trip with the nationally third-ranked Ice, Kisio said the upcoming road trip is going to be a challenge.

“There are going to be a lot of games in a lot of arenas against a lot of good hockey clubs. With the standings how they are and how close it is, we have some work to do. But tonight was a good step in the right direction.”

Alex Thacker had three assists Friday night and Yegor Klavdiev had two.

Nash and Laventure each chipped with a helper for two points.

Canes starting goaltender Bryan Thomson stopped nine of 11 shots in the first two periods to earn the win before Jared Picklyk tended goal in the third, stopping all five shots he faced.

Saturday’s announced attendance was 2,534

NOTES: The Hurricanes’ parents were introduced in a ceremony prior to the game. Singing the national anthem was Canes forward Jett Jones’ sister, Haylee. Hurricanes defenceman Kade Nolan played his 150th career WHL game Saturday night. Hurricanes forward Corson Hopwo sat out Saturday’s game as the first of a two-game suspension after being assessed a check from behind major and game misconduct in Friday’s loss to the Hitmen. He will also sit out Wednesday’s game in Winnipeg.

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