The Hurricanes clung to the Oil Kings for two periods in Game 2 of their first-round series at Rogers Place on Saturday before finally succumbing in a 4-0 loss.

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The Lethbridge Hurricanes could still be swept in the first round of the WHL playoffs by the Edmonton Oil Kings, but they’re proving tough.

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The Hurricanes held off the Oil Kings for two and a half periods in Game 2 of their first-round series at Rogers Place on Saturday before finally succumbing to a 4-0 loss.

Carson Golder scored two goals for the Oil Kings while Dylan Guenther and Kaiden Guhle scored the others. Goaltender Sebastian Cossa made 25 saves for the first playoff shutout of his career.

“It was an unreal experience, our line was buzzing tonight,” Golder said. “The pucks were bouncing in our direction, it was great. It was probably back at Midget the last time I scored two goals.

The Hurricanes finished 33 points behind the Oil Kings in the Western Conference standings this season, but it’s obvious after the first two games of the series they have no intention of turning around.

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Despite being overwhelmed territorially in the first two games, the Hurricanes remain within easy reach of the Oil Kings, thanks in large part to the play of goaltender Bryan Thompson. The 20-year-old Moose Jaw, Sask. product followed a 44 save performance in Game 1 with 39 saves in Game 2.

Thomson made 13 saves in the first period and 16 in the second to keep the Hurricanes in the fight.

“We respect our opponent there,” Golder said. “They are a good team, but we managed to get two wins.”

Unlike the opening game performance where the Oil Kings fought their way into the competition in the first period after going three years between playoff games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they jumped on the Hurricanes from the start. the fall of the puck.

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Still, despite having more territorial possession, it was the Hurricanes who arguably had the best chances to open the scoring, but Cossa was sharp early on.

The Detroit Red Wings’ first-round pick in last year’s NHL Draft is considered one of the best junior goaltenders in the country and is part of Team Canada that will compete in the postponed World Junior Championship in August at Rogers Place.

An early Hurricanes goal may have changed the face of the competition, but buoyed by their goalie, the Oil Kings simply continued to lean on their opponents until their bubble burst.

“I think we played a really good 60-minute game, I liked a lot of the things we were doing,” Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer said. “We had a lot of chances early on, and unfortunately some of them didn’t come early. But we have to give our guys credit, we didn’t change our game, we kept doing the same thing and kind of broke through in the second half.

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Golder opened the scoring six and a half minutes into the second period to give the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead. He grabbed a rebound in the slot on a sharp angled shot from Jakub Demek, spun around and fired it past a partially masked Thompson.

The Hurricanes had their chances to tie the game later in the period but couldn’t beat Cossa on a number of quality looks on the net. Cossa’s best save came on Hurricanes winger Corson Hopwo in a two-on-one run. Cossa managed to get a piece of Hopwo’s single shot which was tagged for the top corner.

The save proved important as moments later Golder netted his second of the game, cleaning up a rebound past a Demek shot with just under two minutes left in the period.

Golder, 19, who was acquired from the Victoria Royals before the season, is proving to be a strong candidate on a line with Demek and Jaxsen Wiebe. The trio combined for six points in Game 2. Golder is originally a defenseman who has evolved to play forward throughout the season.

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“I played with a few other guys on offense and seemed to get along with those guys right away,” Golder said. “We have good chemistry in training and it showed in the game today.”

In the third, Guenther gave the Oil Kings a 3-0 lead, hammering a single shot on the power play off a Guhle pass.

Guhle then completed the scoring, hitting an empty net from 200 feet away with Thompson on the bench for an extra forward and the Hurricanes on the power play.

The stage now shifts to Lethbridge for the next two games of the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Tuesday and Game 4 is scheduled for Thursday. If necessary, Game 5 will return to Rogers Place next Saturday.

The Oil Kings are the favorites to exit the WHL East Division and fight for their first WHL title since 2014. The Memorial Cup is scheduled for June in Saint John, NB The CHL Championship Tournament returns after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

“This game was a lot like the first game, in the first half it was tied, but we started pushing hard in the second,” Demek said. “Our line managed to score two goals and it was good to contribute to the win.”


On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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