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Lethbridge Hurricanes push for a spot in the post-season.

Lethbridge defeated the Hitmen Wednesday night. Here they are in action last weekend against the Medicine Hat Tigers (Photo: Twitter@WHLHurricanes) Lethbridge defeated the Hitmen Wednesday night. Here they are in action last weekend against the Medicine Hat Tigers (Photo: Twitter@WHLHurricanes)
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LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -

It’s crunch time for the 'Canes to get into playoffs.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes open a two-game home stand Wednesday night as they host the Calgary Hitmen.  The teams have split a pair of games, so far, this season with the road team winning both contests.

That would point the advantage arrow in the direction of the Hitmen, a slumping team trying to turn its season around.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” said 'Canes head coach Brent Kisio. “We’ve played a couple games against them and they’ve been hard-fought battles. They’re a good hockey club that’s fighting for a playoff spot.”

The Hurricanes currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference, nine points ahead of the eighth -place Hitmen, who just went 0 for Manitoba last week, losing twice in Winnipeg and then again in Brandon.  

The top eight teams earn a spot in the playoffs.

“We’re always thinking about the post-season,” said Hurricanes co-captain Jett Jones. “We have boards in the room to keep it in the back of our minds. Right now, it’s crunch time.”

The Lethbridge Hurricanes practice on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023

BIG POINTS

The 'Canes have 17 games left in the regular season and five of those are against the Hitmen.

“As a team we’re going to approach this as a series” said Jones. “There will be big points coming down to the end of them getting into playoffs and where we find ourselves.” 

Lethbridge goaltender Bryan Thomson agreed with his teammate. “It’s the final playoff push so we want to rack up as many points as we can and we’re all pretty excited to do that,” said Thompson.

The Hurricanes don’t have a lot of post-season experience. The club was swept in the first round by the Edmonton Oil Kings last season and because of the COVID pandemic the two WHL playoffs before that, in 2020 and 2021, were cancelled.

It’s a similar story across the rest of the hockey league, says Kisio. “There’s a lot of us without playoff experience, [so it's] kind of an even playing field there,” said Kisio. “Last year, we got a little bit [of playoff experience] and hopefully we can go for a good run this year and get a little more and gain that experience back.”

The 'Canes' push for playoffs continues Wednesday night at the Enmax Centre. It was also supposed to be Hurricanes hockey card night, but Wednesday afternoon, they tweeted that the event has been postponed to Feb.24.

Puck drop is 7 p.m.

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