A grand total of four minutes and 15 seconds is all it took for the Lethbridge Hurricanes to put the Kootenay Ice to rest Wednesday night.
The host Hurricanes put three pucks past Ice goaltender Wyatt Hoflin over a span of 4:15 to start the third period, effectively and efficiently swiping two points from their Central Division rival in front of 2,619 fans at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge.
Hurricanes forward Pavel Skumatov began the onslaught 2:39 into the final period by putting a rebound past Hoflin. The goal, Skumatov’s fourth of the campaign, gave the Hurricanes a two-goal lead after captain Tyler Wong had put his team out front 3-2 late in the second period.
After Skumatov’s doorstep goal, Giorgio Estephan piled on 1:42 later, giving the Hurricanes a 5-2 chokehold with 15:49 remaining in regulation.
Rookie Brandon Kennedy poured salt in the wound 2:43 later, putting a sixth goal past Hoflin, ending the Kootenay keeper’s night as Keelan Williams was sent in to mop up.
Hurricanes goaltender, Jayden Sittler — a former member of the Kootenay Ice, made 38 saves to backstop his new team to victory.
Sittler was dealt from the Ice to the Victoria Royals in exchange for a sixth-round bantam draft pick after he lost out on the backup job to Williams. After spending some time on Vancouver Island, Sittler was then sent to the Hurricanes in exchange for a seventh-round bantam draft pick.
Since landing in Southern Alberta, Sittler has been steady, going 3-3-0 with a 3.77 goals-against average and 0.915 save percentage.
Sittler, a native of Red Deer, wasn’t the only player making his first appearance against his former club Wednesday night.
Ice defenceman Lenny Hackman returned to Lethbridge for the first time since being dealt from the Hurricanes in exchange for a 12th-round bantam draft pick Jan. 8.
Hackman finished the night with a minus-1 rating and no points.
The Ice gave up two separate leads, both in the first period, prior to folding the tent in the third.
In a span of 45 seconds, the Ice and Hurricanes combined for three goals to open the game.
Ice forward Austin Vetterl kickstarted the barrage with his seventh of the campaign before Hurricanes rookie affiliate player (AP) Zane Franklin tallied his first-career WHL goal to tie the game 27 seconds later.
On the following shift, Ice captain Sam Reinhart skated down the wing and fired a shot by Sittler, restoring his team’s lead. The response time for Reinhart was a mere 18 seconds following Franklin’s tally.
On top of three consecutive third periods goals, the Hurricanes score two in the second period, with Brayden Burke tying the game 2-2 before Wong put his team in front for good.
Across the final two periods, the Hurricanes scored five consecutive goals before Tim Bozon registered a late power-play marker to round out the scoring.
The tally was Bozon’s 20th of the season. The native of Valbonne, France, is riding a four-game point streak, which has seen him score six goals and three assists.
Hoflin was pulled after surrendering six goals on 23 shots. Williams was only called on to make one save in 13:06 of action in the third period.
Despite the 6-3 loss, the Ice outshot the Hurricanes 41-24.
Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill was unavailable for comment following the game.
Next up, the Ice open a seven-game homestand when they welcome the Regina Pats to Western Financial Place Friday night.