The Lethbridge Hurricanes made their first trip to Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in more than four years. A pandemic will do that.
The Hurricanes, last on Blanshard Street on Nov. 5, 2019, made the moment count by defeating the Victoria Royals 8-3 in a Western Hockey League game Friday night to subdue a crowd of 4,408 that at the beginning was pumped and ready to make noise.
The Hurricanes scored twice on their first four shots, three times on their first seven shots and four goals on nine shots in leading 4-1 early in the second period and giving Victoria a challenge to overcome. It was a rough early birthday present for rookie and Royals’ goaltender-of-the-future Jayden Kraus, who turns 17 today. But Victoria head coach James Patrick stuck with him in the game as Kraus finished with 23 saves. The Royals got 28 shots on Lethbridge goalie Harrison Meneghin.
Rookie Cole Reschny, tabbed by the Elite Prospects site for the second round of the 2025 NHL draft, scored his fifth goal of the season to extend his Royals points streak to 12 games. Logan Pickford and Escalus Burlock also scored for Victoria. Brayden Edwards from Abbotsford scored a hat-trick for the Hurricanes while Prince George-native Miguel Marques had a goal on a four-point night.
It was a homecoming for Carter Dereniwsky, a second round selection by the Royals in the 2019 WHL prospects draft, who was traded this pre-season to the Hurricanes (11-8-2).
The Hurricanes went 2-for-4 on the power play while Victoria was 0-for-3.
The Royals (12-9-1) embark on a three-game swing through the U.S. Division beginning Wednesday night in Portland against the Winterhawks, continuing Friday in Tri-City against the Americans and concluding next Saturday in Spokane against the Chiefs. The next home dates are Nov. 28-29 against the Kamloops Blazers.
ICE CHIPS: The opening face-off commemorated the two-month-out anniversary of the nationally broadcast Hockey Day in Canada to take place Jan. 20 in the capital, with video messages from Ron MacLean and former Vancouver Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa, with Bieksa receiving ovations when he held up a Royals jersey and said how much he enjoys the Royal Colwood Golf Club and the Sticky Wicket … The Hurricanes didn’t have any active players from the Island in the line-up Friday but there are two notables in the pipeline. Their goaltender-of-the-future is Koen Cleaver of Port Alberni, who plays for the Langford-based Pacific Coast Academy U-18 prep team and who won gold this month with Canada White at the World U-17 tournament in P.E.I. The Islander was the first goaltender selected in the 2022 WHL prospects draft as the Hurricanes took him 48th overall in the third round … Also a future ‘Cane is six-foot-three forward Gavin Lesiuk from Duncan, selected 36th overall in the second round of the 2023 WHL prospects draft, and who has already played two games for Lethbridge as a 15-year-old … The Hurricanes’ 10-season radio play-by-play broadcaster is Dustin Forbes from the Comox Valley, who got his start calling VIJHL games.