The Lethbridge Hurricanes hammered the Red Deer Rebels 8-3 Saturday night to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven opening round series. The ‘Canes have now outscored the Rebels 14-3 through the first two games of the series. So far, it’s been extremely one-sided, which is coming as a surprise to Hurricanes Coach Brent Kisio.
“Yeah. I mean, Red Deer is a good hockey club. So we expected a close series,” Kisio said. “We still expect they’re going to come back and battle hard, but I like the way we’re playing.”
It looked like the Rebels might be able to bounce back from a poor game one when Brandon Hagel opened the scoring 59 seconds into the game. It was a good start for Red Deer, but it was short-lived. The Hurricanes scored four goals in the first and took a 4-2 lead into the second period.
“I loved our battle and I loved our compete tonight,” Kisio said. “We have some discipline issues we’ve got to clean up, but our passion and our enthusiasm to play tonight was very high.”
Lethbridge only outshot Red Deer 38-34, but produced the higher quality scoring chances throughout the night.
In the second period the Hurricanes continued to pour it on, when they scored three goals in less than three minutes.
On a night where many Hurricanes players excelled, two shone brightest. Forwards Brad Morrison and Dylan Cozens carried the offensive load for Lethbridge. Morrison went off for two goals and four assists, while Cozens notched three goals and an assist.
In his first year in the league Cozens has dazzled at times with his skill and Saturday night he showed just how valuable he is to the Hurricanes.
“He’s an ok player,” Joked Kisio after the game. “He works so hard. On and off the ice he’s a pro. He has passion for the game. He’s obviously a dynamic player. What we like about him is he plays hard on both sides of the puck… It’s incredible to watch him play.”
The Yukon native was spectacular, but humbly deflected credit to his teammates after the game.
“It feels really good to be able to do it in front of the crowd. I’m super blessed and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my line mates,” Cozens said. “We’ve got really good fans and they’re super loud so it feels super good to get a hat trick. But again wouldn’t be able to do it without my line mates. They were unreal tonight.”
A series that was touted as a rivalry hasn’t been much of one, through two games.
The Hurricanes challenge now is guarding against overconfidence as the series shifts to Red Deer.
“That will be addressed in the next couple days for sure,” Kisio said. “We lost the last game in there (Red Deer) I believe even though we played a good hockey game. It’s a playoff series you can’t let your foot off the gas and we know it’s going to still be a battle.”
Game three of the best-of-seven series is on Tuesday in Red Deer at 7:00 p.m.
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