Tyler Wong sends Hurricanes to Eastern Conference Final in wild game seven win
The Lethbridge Hurricanes are off to the Eastern Conference Final after a thrilling 5-4 overtime game seven win over the Medicine Hat Tigers. On a night where they had five regulars out with injury, the ‘Canes simply refused to loose. Hurricanes Captain Tyler Wong propelled his team to victory with two goals, including the game winner.
“Unreal, the character this shows from our team is unbelievable,” Wong said. “I told the guys before overtime I was so proud of them. There are so many unselfish players on our team that are just pulling and doing whatever it takes. It just feels so good right now.”
The Hurricanes jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period with goals from Wong, Egor Babenko, and Jordy Bellerive. In the second period the Tigers responded with furious pressure, lighting the lamp three times in under six minutes. They outshot the ‘Canes 17-7 in the frame, took a 4-3 lead and were the much stronger team.
In the third period, the ‘no quit’ Hurricanes responded and battled back. On the verge on elimination, down a goal with less than three minutes remaining an unlikely hero surfaced. A point shot leaked through Tigers Goaltender Michael Bullion, and 16-year-old call up Dylan Cozens banged it in to tie the game at four. The Whitehorse native continued his impressive playoff with his 5th point in limited action.
In overtime, with a trip to the Eastern Conference Final on the line, the Hurricanes Captain took over. With his team shorthanded Wong cut to the middle of the ice and ripped a shot over Bullion to give the ‘Canes the win.
Come on. It just had to be Wonger, didn’t it? The 5’9 bowling ball of grit and skill, is the heartbeat of the Hurricanes, and the face of the franchise. He’s the teams’ unquestioned leader, and would not be denied in game seven, scoring the biggest goal of his career.
“Right at the top, I can’t imagine scoring a more meaningful goal,” Wong said. “To get all the way to the conference finals with this group is the best feeling in the world. I’m just so proud of our group and so humbled that I was the one to be able to burry that one.”
It’s the first time the Tigers and Hurricanes met in a playoff series in 26 years, and what a show they put on for the fans. The highway three rivalry is alive and well after an incredible seven games of hockey.
“What a game, and what a series,” Hurricanes Head Coach Brent Kisio said. “Medicine Hat, give them a lot of credit. They played so hard, and both teams played hard. It was an outstanding series… We found a way again. Our leadership is outstanding and that’s what they do in that room.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the ‘Canes in the Eastern Conference final. The Hurricanes meet the WHL’s top team, the Regina Pats.
The series gets underway on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Brandt Centre in Regina.
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