April 17th, 2024

Hurricanes grind their way to a playoff spot

By Lethbridge Herald on March 19, 2024.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Lethbridge Hurricanes Joe Arntsen attempts to cut off the Saskatoon Blades Egor SidorovÕs path to the net during WHL action at the Enmax Centre in this February file photo.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge Hurricanes are heading to the postseason for the seventh straight season after a playoff-spot clinching win in Red Deer on Saturday and taking five-of-six points overall on the weekend.  

“Obviously clinching on Saturday was excellent for our group, you know, lots of excitement there finally  to get that  X beside our name,” said Matt Anholt, Canes assistant coach.

“But to get five of six in three really tough games against two formidable opponents was massive for our group.”

Anholt said it’s a little  bit of a thankful moment to  finally get that done.

“Until you finally clinch, you never really know if you are going to be there,” said Anholt.

“But our guys have been working so hard over the last month or so now to finally get that thing locked up and now we’re just jockeying for position.”

When asked about what the battle was like to clinch a playoff spot, Anholt said it was a grind.

“There was lots of ups and downs,” said Anholt.

“We’ve obviously had that seven-game slide, which seemed like a life time ago now. But  to come out of that how we did where slowly but surely our game kind of started to come to form, and  we lost a couple of tight games to Saskatoon and Prince Albert, and then right after that we just started to take off as a group. We got heathier which helped significantly and like we were missing a lot of those key guys in that time. So there was a lot of ups and downs since the trade deadline and I think that’s going to make us stronger down the stretch and (the) ability to fight through adversity.”

“That was kind of the goal going into it was we had a chance to put the X beside our name ,and get in, and take some pressure off these next couple of games,” said Arntsen.

“ So it’s huge to get that I mean against Red Deer, a tough opponent, and to take four points from them was huge.”

Arntsen thought the leading up to the clinching game was a grind.

“We kind of went on a skid there and put ourselves in a spot we didn’t want to be in,” said Arntsen.

“But I’m proud of the boys for battling back and we’ve been rolling pretty good since. So it’s been hard but the season’s hard ,and it’s a long year, and it’s the dog days and to get the X and clinch a spot is huge.”

The Canes will look to close out the regular season on a strong note and lock up sixth spot in the conference when they play the Medicine Hat Tigers in a home-and-home set beginning Friday night at the Enmax Centre.

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