Canes blank Broncos 7-0
Jeri-Leon scores four goals in five-point game
So far, so good. Playing in their final home game of the Western Hockey League preseason, the Lethbridge Hurricanes blanked the Swift Current Broncos 7-0 Friday night at the Enmax Centre in the first half of a home-and-home series that will conclude tonight in Swift Current.
Canes forward Keltie JeriLeon scored four goals and added an assist, while Dylan Cozens scored twice and capped it off with a spirited scrap with Sam Pouliot with 38 seconds remaining in regulation.
Logan Barlage added the other Lethbridge goal, while at the other end, second-year goaltender Reece Klassen turned aside all 18 shots he faced as the Hurricanes improve to 3-1 in exhibition play.
The Hurricanes head into their final dress rehearsal tonight in Swift Current before the regular season kicks off Friday.
“We’re getting better and better and that’s what we’ve wanted to from the start, to get better through preseason so when the real season starts we’re good to go,” said Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio. “I think we took a good step tonight, but we want to see how we respond tomorrow after a win.”
Jeri-Leon handed the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead after the first period and completed his natural hat trick bid one minute into the second period on the power play.
Barlage put Lethbridge up 4-0 after the second period with his second of the preseason before Cozens scored his first two on the night in the third and JeriLeon added his fourth of the preseason with 2:39 remaining.
“I thought we played well right from the puck drop,” said Jeri-Leon, whose team rang up 49 shots on Broncos goaltender Isaac Poulter. “Every line was going, getting pucks deep and outworking them, lots of shots, we almost had 50.”
Klassen faced eight shots through the first 40 minutes and stopped 10 more in the third.
“I thought the team played unreal in front of me,” said the goaltender from Cloverdale, B.C., who turned 19 last month. “The defence was keeping it simple and I didn’t get many crazy chances. I have to give it to the D for this.”
Klassen came into Friday’s game as one of three goaltenders on the Canes roster that includes Akira Schmid — who is at the New Jersey Devils training camp — and local product Carl Tetachuk.
“It’s been good, said Klassen of the preseason. “I’ve been working hard this summer. So coming in here and playing well obviously feels good.”
The Hurricanes cap off the preseason tonight in Swift Current and then will prepare for their season-opener Friday against the Medicine Hat Tigers.
“Right now we’re just worrying about ourselves and that the guys are playing the way we want to play and I thought it was a good step in the right direction,” said Kisio. “We worked on a lot of structure over the past week and I think we displayed that tonight. A lot of guys did a lot of good.”
Hurricanes forward Taylor Ross went heavily into the boards midway through the third. He was slow to get up, skated off on his own, but didn’t return.
Kisio said his forward was alright.
“He could have come back, we just kept him out.”
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