The Lethbridge Hurricanes didn’t want their season to come to an end Sunday in Red Deer, and it showed.
The visitors were the stronger team in game six of this WHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, winning 4-1 to force game seven Tuesday night back in Lethbridge.
To say Sunday’s game started slow would be pretty accurate. Neither team was able to get much going through the first ten minutes, playing on short rest following game five on Saturday. The Hurricanes didn’t register their first shot on goal until 11:55 into the opening period.
After building up some momentum on their first power play of the night, the Rebels opened the scoring with 55.1 seconds left in the first frame. Michael Spacek, parked crease-side, put home a rebound past Hurricanes goalie Stuart Skinner for his fourth goal of the series.
Lethbridge came out strong in the second period and took the lead with a pair of goals late in the stanza. Red Deer product Ryan Vandervlis beat Rebels netminder Riley Lamb with a top shelf snipe at the 13:51 mark. Alec Baer, left wide open in the Rebels slot, made it 2-1 less than three minutes later.
Brandon Hagel then missed on a glorious shorthanded scoring chance in the dying seconds of the period. In the opening minute of the third, just 23 seconds in, Lethbridge captain Tyler Wong scored a spectacular goal to give the Hurricanes a two goal lead at 3-1.
A scary moment occurred midway through the period when Evan Polei caught a stretched-out Tanner Nagel in the head with a crushing hit. Nagel remained down on the ice for several minutes before leaving the game. Polei was given a major penalty and game misconduct for checking to the head.
The Rebels killed off the penalty, but were left with little time for a comeback. Jadon Jospeh put those hopes to rest when he scored into an empty net with 1:39 remaining.
Brent Sutter post-game comments
Lethbridge outshot Red Deer 35-34 on the night and was 1/5 on the power play. The Rebels had two power plays and were goalless.
Next up… game seven Tuesday night in Lethbridge (7 p.m. on 106.7 The Drive)
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