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Nov 18

Lethbridge Hurricanes stave off elimination with 5-3 win over Red Deer Rebels

The Lethbridge Hurricanes faced elimination Saturday night, but came up with a clutch performance, downing the Red Deer Rebels 5-3 at home. The game was tied at three in the third period, when ‘Canes forward Zak Zborosky snapped home a loose puck in the slot, scoring the eventual game-winner. The Hurricanes pulled away in the final frame, and now trail the Rebels 3-2 in the best of seven series.

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“It was win, or go home,” Hurricanes Head Coach Brent Kisio said. “I’m really proud of the way our guys played tonight. I thought we played real hard and we finally hung on to the lead which was nice to see. Real good hockey game for both teams.”

Saturday’s tilt was one of the more exciting WHL games you’ll see. Five goals were scored in the second period, and the teams exchanged a flurry of chances throughout the night. Forwards Alec Baer, Matt Alfaro, Zane Franklin, Zborosky, and Estephan all found the net for Lethbridge in the win.

The ‘Canes played in front of 4,562 fans in game five, the biggest home crowd they’ve had in the playoffs.

“The atmosphere was great tonight,” Hurricanes forward Giorgio Estephan said. “Everyone was on their feet. It was do, or die, and we took it to them physically today, and the emotion in the game was really high.”

The Hurricanes welcomed back star forward Giorgio Estephan in game five, who missed the previous two games with injury. The skilled centre picked up three points on the night, and restored balance to the Hurricanes lineup.

“He was huge,” Kisio said. “He’s one of our leaders, and when you’re missing that it hurts. It showed tonight how big of an impact he has for us. Our depth gets added, it’s huge for our lineup.”

In game five, the ‘Canes were more physical than they’ve been all series, and perhaps that was born out of desperation.

“I think everyone had the same mentality,” Hurricanes forward Zak Zborosky said. “We didn’t work this hard all season to lose in the first round. We’re a very confident group in the room here.”

The ‘Canes will need to carry that confidence on the road Sunday in Red Deer. Game six of the best of seven series is on Sunday at 5: 00 p.m.