April 19th, 2024

U18 Hurricanes advance after eliminating Oilers

By Dale Woodard on March 1, 2022.

Thanks to two must-wins in the span of 24 hours, the Lethbridge U18 Hurricanes will play for another day.

And at least another round, which starts tonight.

The Canes downed the Okotoks Oilers 5-1 in Game 3 of the teams’ opening round, best-of-three Alberta Elite Hockey League series Sunday afternoon at Nicholas Sheran Arena.

That came one day after the Canes kept their playoff run alive with a 4-2 win over the Oilers Saturday in Okotoks to set the table for Sunday’s deciding game.

In Saturday’s game, Hurricanes goaltender Erick Roest was credited with the empty-net goal that sealed the win.

On Sunday, Peyton Twigg scored once for the Hurricanes and added two assists, while Roest kicked out 25 of 26 shots.

Lethbridge now heads to the best-of-three second round to face the Calgary Buffaloes as Game 1 takes the ice tonight in Calgary at 7:15 p.m.

The Buffaloes went 25-12-1 in the regular season to finish second in the South, four points up on the 21-12-5 Hurricanes.

On Sunday, Lethbridge grabbed a 2-0 lead after the first period on goals from Ryan Henderson and Blake Matheson.

The Oilers cut that lead in half 11:45 into the second period on a power play goal from Philip Raycroft, but goals from Caden Heins – also on the man advantage – and Twigg in the final 1:58 of the second was more than enough insurance to pace the hosts to the win.

Carter Klippenstein added an empty-netter with 35 seconds to go.

“We came in knowing it was going to be tough, but we just stuck to our game plan and really just outworked them,” said Twigg, who had two goals and six points in the three-game series. “We didn’t let them stray us from our game plan. We just stuck to it and ended up winning.”

Henderson got things rolling 6:20 into the first before Matheson padded the lead to two with 5:56 left in the first. It was the first of the post season for both Canes.

The Oilers went to the power play midway through the second and cashed in as Raycroft’s shot made its way through traffic and past Roest to make it 2-1.

“I think we knew they would come on hard and that they would keep pushing,” said Roest. “We just had to push the snowball back up the hill and get it going the other way.”

With time winding down in the second the Hurricanes pushed their lead to three as Heins netted a man advantage marker and Twigg added his second of the playoffs with 30 seconds to go.

“I just crashed the net and the rebound popped out to me and I was able to bang it in,” said Twigg.

Roest stopped all eight shots he faced in the third before Klippenstein’s empty-netter.

“They did a good job of screening and getting some tips,” said Roest.

“But our guys did a good job of boxing them out and keeping them to the outside. It made my night really easy.”

In Saturday’s win in Okotoks to extend the series, the Hurricanes led 1-0 after the first period on a goal from Ty Fraser.

The Oilers tied it up 7:33 into the second on a goal from Gavin Schmidt before Malachai Peigan handed Lethbridge a 2-1 lead and Fraser added his second of the game for a 3-1 cushion after two periods.

Lochlan Tetarenko pulled the Oilers within one with 6:29 remaining, before Roest contributed at the other end of the ice with an empty netter with 16 seconds to go.

The win came after a tough Game 1 loss Wednesday night at Nicholas Sheran Arena when the Oilers scored with 28 seconds to go to post a 2-1 win.

“We just slowed things down in practice and focused on what we could do,” said Twigg after the tough Game 1 loss. “We knew were a strong team and that we could bounce back. We just worked hard.”

“It’s great,” added Roest. “After that first game it was a little tough. We knew what we had to do and the boys pushed hard to come back and win the series.”

Game 2 of the Hurricanes series with the Buffaloes comes back to Nicholas Sheran Arena Friday night at 7:15 p.m.

If necessary, Game 3 will be back in Calgary Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

The Hurricanes went 4-0 in the regular season against the Buffaloes, winning 2-1 Oct. 9 in Calgary, 3-0 Nov. 21 in Lethbridge, 3-2 Dec. 11 in Lethbridge and 5-3 Feb. 20 in Calgary.

See Wednesday’s Herald for the rest of the Alberta Elite Hockey League wrapup with the Lethbridge U16 Headwater Hurricanes and the U15 Val Matteotti Golden Hawks.

Follow @@DWoodardHerald on Twitter

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