Lethbridge Hurricanes closing in on WHL playoff spot

Click to play video: 'Hurricanes closing in on playoff spot' Hurricanes closing in on playoff spot
With four games left in the regular season, the Lethbridge Hurricanes are closing in on one of the two unclaimed playoff spots in the eastern conference. As Erik Bay tells us, the team is feeling confident heading into the final push for the postseason. – Apr 7, 2022

After a 6-1 win over the Saskatoon Blades Wednesday night, the Lethbridge Hurricanes need just two points to secure a trip to the WHL post-season.

“It’s been a while since we’ve had that chance,” said forward Justin Hall, who’s spent all four of his WHL seasons with the Hurricanes.

“I think there’s only a few of us who’ve ever played in the playoffs here so I think we’re all really excited to get into it. It’s pretty exciting when the Enmax Centre gets rocking in the playoffs.”

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge Hurricanes open camp, excited for full WHL season' Lethbridge Hurricanes open camp, excited for full WHL season
Lethbridge Hurricanes open camp, excited for full WHL season – Sep 9, 2021

It’s been three years since the Canes last appeared in the playoffs, a first-round exit in 2019 that went the distance against the Calgary Hitmen.

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The team clinched a post-season birth the following campaign, but the season was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“We were really confident in how our team was looking going into playoffs so it was a tough way to end it,” Hall said.

Read more: 10th overall pick Marques impressing in first WHL stint with Hurricanes

The 2020-21 WHL season didn’t have playoffs.

Currently, the Canes sit in seventh place in the eastern conference with 63 points through 64 games.

A couple of teams still have a chance to catch Lethbridge. The Hitmen and Prince Albert Raiders are outside of the playoff picture right now but are within striking distance, with 58 and 57 points respectively.

Both of those teams have four games remaining.

When it comes to their playoff destiny, the Hurricanes know they’re in the driver’s seat, but are looking to clinch sooner rather than later.

“It’s very important,” said forward Corson Hopwo, who leads the Canes in playoff experience with six games played, all with the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Read more: Hurricanes ship Barlage, Wheatcroft out of Lethbridge on WHL trade deadline

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“We know our position and we like our position. I think if we do what we want to do and know we can do, it’s really exciting.”

With four games left on the schedule, head coach Brent Kisio wants his team to maintain its edge as the finish line approaches.

“Main thing for us right now is obviously make playoffs first, but make sure if we do, that we’re playing the right way rolling into playoffs,” Kisio said. “I think each game we’ve played we’ve gotten better and better.”

The hope is to end what has been a long wait for some of the Canes veterans.

“Last time I played in the playoffs, I was 17,” Hall said. “Last time I had a chance to was when I was 17.

“I’m 20 years old now — last chance to do it — so I’m pretty pumped.”

The Canes’ first chance to clinch is Friday night in Red Deer against the Rebels.

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