July 19th, 2024

Canes begin important stretch

By Lethbridge Herald on December 7, 2023.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Lethbridge HurricanesÕ Chase Pauls prepares to drive Moose Jaw Warriors forward Atley Calvert into the boards during Western Hockey League action at the Enmax Centre back in October.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have five games left before the Christmas break and know a certain level of focus is needed in hopes of creating some space in the standings before breaking for 10 days.

The Hurricanes are in a log jam in the Eastern Conference where three points separate fourth through eighth place in which the Canes sit in seventh going into tonight’s action.

“We met earlier in the month of December and we talked about what we had in front of us, and at that time it was six games in basically 17 days, and broke it all down, and went through it and the challenge is at any level is staying focused through the holidays,” said Bill Peters, Hurricanes head coach.

“There’s lots of things, there’s travel home, there’s looking forward to the break and a well-deserved break for everybody in hockey. So it’s all about staying in the moment and finishing hard and enjoying your break. So that for us started already.”

Peters says it’s more execution than effort in these last five games.

“I think we’ve worked hard but we’ve got to be able to execute, we’ve got to be able to generate offence,” said Peters.

“And our powerplay, we’ve spent some time on it again this week and it’s got to be something that’s dangerous. Early in … our last game, we had couple of opportunities in the first period that could have made a big difference and we didn’t get much accomplished. So that can’t happen.”

Of the five games left before the Christmas break, four of them are against division opponents and will be crucial to pick up picking up points in the next week.  

“Well, it’s huge,” said Peters.

“You sit on a night like last night (Wednesday), where two teams in our division play …, three actually, and two win obviously. Somebody’s getting points. All you’re hoping for in that second game last night (is) that it didn’t become a three-point game with extra time. So, you don’t want to have to rely on that either. You want to look after your own business and when you get an opportunity to create separation in the standings, you got to look after it and that’s the situation we’re in.”

Defenceman Chase Pauls felt the team had lapses at this point in previous years.

“So, hopefully this year, we can stay focused and keep playing good all the way up until the break,” said Pauls.

Forward Logan Wormald thinks the team needs to be willing to play these games before the break.

“These are huge points for us,” said Wormald.

“I mean other teams are going to be checked out too for Christmas. So I think we got to take advantage of that and like you said, these are massive points going into the break that we need to come out on top of.”

Peters thinks preparation has been good this week ahead of the weekend  home-and-home games with the Broncos.

“I think guys were frustrated with not getting any points out of our last hockey game and look forward to the opportunity to try and get four points,” said Peters.

“We start at home against Swifty and then we go there. It’s all about looking after home ice,  playing well and getting everybody involved. So we feel like when we play at our best, we got four lines that are generating offence.”

Peters said they can score, in reference to the Broncos.

“But dangerous offensively, so we got to manage the puck and we’ve got be tight away from the puck,” said Peters.

Puck drop between the Hurricanes and Broncos is 7 p.m. tonight at the Enmax Centre.

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