July 14th, 2024

Hurricanes looking to find their rhythm, says Peters

By Lethbridge Herald on January 15, 2024.

Newly acquired Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Hayden Pakkala carries the puck up ice past Medicine Hat Tigers Tyler MacKenzie during WHL action Saturday at Medicine Hat. Medicine Hat News photo by James Tubb

James Tubb – SOUTHERN ALBERTA NEWSPAPERS – jtubb@medicinehatnews.com

The Lethbridge Hurricanes are gearing up for the sprint of 28 games ahead of them.

The Hurricanes are coming off a split weekend against the Medicine Hat Tigers, with a 5-2 win at the Enmax Centre on Friday before consistency cost them in a 3-2 loss Saturday at Medicine Hat.

Head coach Bill Peters says they had a better effort in Friday’s win and they made some decisions on ice Saturday that made the game harder for themselves.

“(Saturday) was a little bit of an inconsistent effort, we know they’re going to push on a back-to-back and we got the result we wanted (Friday),” Peters said. “It was going to be hard coming in on the road in this building and we didn’t quite have enough hands on deck.”

Logan Warmold opened the scoring Saturday with a power play goal, his 11th marker of the season. Medicine Hat then rattled off three-unanswered in the second and early into the third period.

Dylan Sydor scored late for his second goal in his second game as a Hurricane since being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers at the trade deadline. Harrison Meneghin made 33 saves in the loss.

The Hurricanes drew closer to seeing all their trade deadline acquisitions in the lineup; Sean Tschigerl played his second game in the red and blue on Saturday after missing Friday’s game due to illness.

Former Prince Albert Raiders forward Hayden Pakkala was also in the Lethbridge lineup for both games against the Tigers, and defenceman Braeden Wynne arrived in the Windy City late Friday.

As they are able to get newly acquired players into practices and build that comfort, Peters says they’ll learn how they have to play if they want to have success heading down the stretch. He says it will be a battle in the Eastern conference just to get into the playoffs, let alone advance throughout.

The Hurricanes come out of the weekend holding the seventh spot in the conference with a 20-17-3 record, sitting two points ahead of the eighth place Raiders. They hit the road Wednesday to face the Moose Jaw Warriors and their new forward Matthew Savoie. They’ll stay on the road to face the Regina Pats on Friday before wrapping up the busy week in Manitoba against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

With that three-game slate ahead and 25 to go after that, Peters says it will take a little bit of time to get everyone into a spot and find their rhythm again.

“Just get everybody back into where they are, Leo (Braillard) was gone there for a month with the World Juniors, so he comes back in and all of a sudden he’s playing on a line with Tschigerl and Sydor,” Peters said. “So they’ve never even practised together and we keep talking about it, Leo comes back from the Worlds and doesn’t have any equipment, he made it but the equipment didn’t.

“So it’s just a goofy time of year and then going into the deadlines, very stressful for everybody. but now that it’s behind us and we’re at the 40-game mark, now you can fix your eye on what’s left and make sure you’re taking steps in the right direction.”

With the first 40 games under his own belt and that push toward the playoffs ahead, Peters says he’s enjoyed the start to his tenure in Lethbridge and has appreciated the level of play on display every night.

“The skill in the league is very apparent each and every night, there’s some high-end players, Berkly Catton just rolled through here and he looked very dangerous. He was definitely dangerous against us,” Peters said. “When you look at a guy like (Gavin) McKenna tonight, I thought he had the puck a lot, and then obviously (Cayden) Lindstrom too, didn’t play here tonight but a draft eligible player who’s very good.

“There’s also great veteran players in this league. The skill in the Western Hockey League keeps improving and the guys that run the league are committed to putting a quality product on the ice.”

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