Canes set for the Silvertips
Call it an early season measuring stick for the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Following a 6-2 loss to the stillundefeated Swift Current Broncos in Western Hockey League action Tuesday night in Swift Current, the Canes return home to the Enmax Centre tonight at 7 when they host the Everett Silvertips.
After Tuesday’s setback in Saskatchewan, the 3-3 Hurricanes look to get back above .500 following the loss to the Broncos that now makes Swift Current (7-0) the only undefeated team in the league heading into tonight’s play.
Still, Tuesday proved to be a chance to see how the Hurricanes stack up in the early going of the season.
“It was a bit of a learning curve for us,” said Canes veteran forward Jordy Bellerive as the team wound up practice Thursday afternoon at the Enmax Centre.
“We were up 2-1 at one point and then it was 2-2 going into the third. That’s arguably one of the best teams in the country right now and I think that’s a big step in the right direction for us. Obviously, we let it go in the third with a couple of minor breakdowns that cost. But that happens against teams like that that have guys that can score. I think we’re going to try and build off what we did in the first two periods and try to forget about the third and take that in the right to direction.”
The Hurricanes league-leading power play went 2for-7 in Swift Current, but handed the Broncos nine man-advantage opportunities, two of which they cashed in on.
“It was kind of a weird game with that on both ends,” said Bellerive, who drew assists of both goals to up his total to six points in as many games. “There were a couple of calls that probably shouldn’t have been called on both sides. They were trying to even things out or something. But obviously we’d like to stay out of the box because five-on-five we’re a pretty dangerous team.”
However, when the Canes find themselves up a man, they’ve proven efficient with eight power-play goals in 24 chances, good for a 33.3 per cent rating that has them atop the league, just ahead of the Victoria Royal’s 32.7 per cent clip.
“I think it’s just a good strategy,” said Bellerive. “We’ve been able to adapt to different penalty kills. We have a good group of guys running it, so I think it’s just a close chemistry and we want everybody to succeed. So that’s working well.”
After tonight’s game, the Hurricanes hit the road to Calgary Sunday to take on the Hitmen at 4 p.m.
They return home next Friday and get another shot at the Broncos at 7 p.m. at the Enmax Centre, kicking off a seven-game homestand that runs until Nov. 3.
Ryan Bowen moves the puck in for a shot during practice as the Lethbridge Hurricanes get set to host the Everett Silvertips tonight at the Enmax Centre.