Ice fall short in Lethbridge barnburner

The Kootenay Ice fell to the Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-4 on Friday night despite a very strong second period.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes defeated the Kootenay Ice in regulation

The Lethbridge Hurricanes defeated the Kootenay Ice in regulation

Brad McLeod

For the first time this season, the Kootenay Ice lost a game in regulation time. Although the match was tied at two times tonight in Lethbridge, the Ice failed to keep up with their opponent, losing to the Hurricanes by a score of 5-4.

As has become a trend for the team this season, the Ice got off to a slow start and were quickly made to pay for it.

It only took Russian import Egor Babenko 56 seconds to put in the first Lethbridge goal. The tally was the result of a series of nifty high speed passes with Ryley Lindgren and Jesse Zaharichuk, that broke down the Ice’s defence. 33 seconds later, Babenko exchanged passes with Colton Kroeker to set up Jordy Bellerive, and the Hurricanes made it a 2-0 game before the two-minute mark.

The first 10 minutes of the game might as well have been set to ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, as the Hurricanes looked like the hockey equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters, passing with absolute perfect precision through awestruck Kootenay Ice players.

Although Ice goalie Payton Lee gave up two goals in the first three shots he faced, he stayed composed and allowed the Ice an opportunity to come back. Despite letting in another goal to Zaharichuk — who was acquired by the Hurricanes from the Ice in exchange for Barrett Sheen during the off-season — with 3 minutes to go in the first period, Lee finished the opening frame with 14 saves on 17 shots.

The winds took an abrupt turn in the second period when Kootenay went on a sudden tear. The Ice got on the score-sheet less than 5 minutes into the frame, with Kaedan Taphorn scoring his first career WHL goal on a deflection of Ryan Pouliot’s shot. Fellow rookie Fedor Rudakov also earned his first point on the play, being credited with the play’s second assist.

Less than 30 seconds later, former-Hurricane Barrett Sheen threw a puck at the net from the corner that beat goalie Stuart Skinner. Then, still within the span of a minute and a half, Zak Zborosky got an open break down the left wing and tied the game.

The Ice continued to buzz after the dramatic goal spree and Skinner had to make several huge stops, including foiling a clear cut Zborosky breakaway that forced him to cover the puck with his back.

However, penalty trouble soon killed Kootenay’s momentum with Vince Loschiavo and Cale Fleury taking two undisciplined minors in the remainder of the period. Although, Lethbridge couldn’t get past Lee, who continued his sharp play, their powerplay generated significant pressure.

The game was square at three a piece when the teams headed into the third, but another penalty — Troy Murray for slashing — gave the ‘Canes their fourth man advantage. This time, they wouldn’t be denied and Brennan Menell put one past Lee with a rocket from the blueline.

Five minutes later, the Ice tied things up again with Sheen knocking in his second of the night off of an odd break in front of the net. Lethbridge defenseman Brady Reagan looked as though he had saved the puck from trickling past the goal line, but in his clearing attempt he ended up giving the puck right to Sheen.

Despite the Ice’s resiliency, with less than two minutes to go Ryley Lindgren buried a rebound from a Brayden Burke chance in tight and the Hurricanes were able to hold on to a 5-4 victory. Jesse Zaharichuk had an assist on the game-winning goal, giving him a goal and three helpers on the night, which was good enough for him to be named the game’s first star against his former team.

It wasn’t a conventional back-and-forth game, with both clubs trading sprees of 3 unanswered goals, but so far this year the Ice haven’t put out a dull performance. At 0-1-1-1, the team will now look to even things out with a 1 in the win column too. They’ll have the opportunity to do just that tomorrow night, when they take on the Saskatoon Blades, back at home, at Western Financial Place at 7 p.m.

Notes: Scratches for the Ice included Declan Hobbs (G), Sam Huston (D), Reed Morison (F) and Shane Allan (F) … The Hurricanes scratched Ethan King (D), Giorgio Estephan (F) and Josh Tarzwell (F). They were also without the service of Tyler Wong who was serving a 1-game suspension carried over from last year’s playoffs.

Friday, September 30

Kootenay Ice 4 at Lethbridge Hurricanes 5

First Period

1. LET – E. Babenko (1) (R. Lindgren, J. Zaharichuk) 0:56

2. LET – J. Bellerive (2) (E. Babenko, C. Kroeker) 1:29

3. LET – J. Zaharichuk (1) (R. Lindgren, B. Burke) 17:13

Second Period

4. KTN – Ka. Taphorn (1) (R. Pouliot, F. Rudakov) 4:28

5. KTN – B. Sheen (1) (D. Stewart) 5:12

6. KTN – Z. Zborosky (2) 5:54

Third Period

7. LET – B. Menell (1) (C. Kroeker, J. Zaharichuk) 6:43

8. KTN – B. Sheen (2) 12:16

9. LET – R. Lindgren (2) (B. Burke, J. Zaharichuk) 18:47

Shots 1 2 3 T

Kootenay Ice 9-12-9-29

Calgary Hitmen 17-17-12-46

Goaltenders Record Saves SV%

KTN – Payton Lee 0-1-1-1 41/46 0.891

CGY- Stuart Skinner 2-1-0-0 25/29 0.862

Attendance: 2,986

Three Stars:

1. Jesse Zaharichuk – LET
2. Egor Babenko – LET
3. Payton Lee – KTN