'We're clicking right now': Lethbridge Hurricanes open WHL season with back-to-back victories
For many young junior hockey players, the opening weekend of the WHL regular season is nerve wracking.
Playing in front of thousands of rowdy fans is something most are completely unfamiliar with, and considering the fact that fans were unable to attend games in person last year, Friday night was a first for a good chunk of the Lethbridge Hurricanes roster.
"Our crowd is so important to us. Just having them back in the stands, it means a lot and it showed on the ice," said Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio.
Backed by their hometown fans, the 'Canes skated their way to a dominating 9-2 win over the Calgary Hitmen to kick off the 2021-22 WHL season.
With Friday's win on home ice, the club improved to an impressive 114-53-9-10 record at the ENAMX Centre over the past six seasons.
"It's been a long time without our fans, and it was just awesome having them back. We've got a long season ahead and I'm just excited," said Hurricanes forward Noah Boyko, who netted a hat trick in the home opener and played a huge role in the blowout victory.
He was skating alongside veterans Justin Hall and Logan Barlage on what promises to be one of the team's — and possibly the league's — most dominant lines this season.
The trio combined for 10 points in the home opener, with Justin Hall recording a goal and four assists en route to being named the game's first star, and the CHL player of the night.
"We're three best friends and we had a really good game. It's so fun playing with them. They skate hard, they track, they do the right things and we're clicking right now," said Boyko.
Not lost in the excitement of the goal scoring bonanza was the announcement of this year's team captains.
The 'C' will be split between third-year defender Joe Arntsen and forward Jett Jones.
"Lots of great guys have worn letters here in the past and they've kind of carved out the path for how we lead and we've had success with it," said Jones after the game.
"It's a huge honour for all of us, but everyone on the team's a leader so it works out good."
With a head of steam and loaded with confidence, the Hurricanes made the trip up to Calgary on Sunday for a matinee tilt against the Hitmen.
It wasn't quite the same high-flying offensive affair, but nevertheless, the Hurricanes came home with another win, this time by a score of 4-1.
Belarusian rookie forward Yegor Klavdiev had his fingerprints all over the scoresheet, potting back-to-back goals, including the game winner, to seal the deal for the 'Canes.
Lethbridge's next game is at home one Wednesday October 6th when they play host to the Edmonton Oil Kings at the ENMAX Centre.