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Matthew Smith unleashes a slap shot. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Well, that was ugly.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes blew into town with their powerplay firing on all cylinders Tuesday, going 6/11 before all was said and done. They crushed the Royals by the score of 10-4, chasing Griffen Outhouse from the game at 29:32 – a rare occurrence.

The Hurricanes ended their eight-game losing streak with a vengeance.

Of the 11 penalties assessed to the Royals, the 3,807 fans in attendance let the referees have it on several occasions during the game. Although Coach Dan Price and Tyler Soy were taking the heat for the undisciplined play when speaking to the media, post-game, the referees were relentless.

“That was all my fault,” said Price. “I take the blame for tonight’s performance. It’s my job to have the players prepared. I thought they were prepared, clearly, they were not.”

Asked if it was all about the undisciplined play or was it the refs, Soy said, “I wouldn’t call taking that many penalties disciplined.”

The Royals weren’t helping their own cause with spotty defensive play and taking several retaliation penalties.

They returned home to Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre after a two-game Washington State trip that saw them defeat the Seattle Thunderbirds 1-0 and the Tri-City Americans 7-3 on the weekend. It was the fifth time that the Royals scored seven goals so far this season. Last year they managed to score seven just four times, all year. The tables were turned in this game.

To open the scoring Tuesday, Matthew Smith took a slap shot from the blueline at 8:02, it went top-right corner on goaltender Stuart Skinner. Matthew Phillips had set-up the goal with a tidy, tape-to-tape pass from the top of the right faceoff circle. Tyler Soy earned the second assist on the play.

The Hurricanes answered back 2:10 later when Ryan Vandervlis slipped a backhand between the legs of a sprawling Griffen Outhouse, five-hole. Josh Tarzwell set-up the play, while on the rush, feeding Vandervlis a pass as he skated through the slot.

While killing a Jared Freadrich interference penalty, the Hurricanes went up by the score of 2-1 with Vandervlis second of the game and eighth of the season, when he fired a rocket of a wrist shot from the top of the slot. Outhouse was screened on the shot; it went over his left shoulder.

The Royals evened the score up at 4:20 of the second period while killing a penalty. Tyler Soy put the puck in the same top-right corner as Smith had earlier. He fired a long bomb from just inside the blueline. The play started when Phillips had intercepted a Hurricanes’ pass at the Royals’ blueline and the two were off to the races.

Eric Florchuk on the forecheck. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

At 7:13, Giorgio Estephan scored on the powerplay, while Phillips was serving a slashing penalty. The goal was reviewed, as the refs had not picked up the puck hitting the back bar in the net. Estephan had let rip a rising backhand from the deep slot.

Calen Addison scored his fifth of the season at 9:32, and then the Hurricanes went up by the score of 5-2 at 10:13 when Vandervlis completed the hat-trick, scoring on the first shot that Dean McNabb faced after replacing Outhouse.

At 11:59, Estephan scored his second of the game on a slap shot from McNabb’s right side; the puck went under his blocker. He hung his head when he saw that the puck had entered the net.

The rest of the game was played in staccato moments of play wedged between penalties and fighting. The Royals were frustrated and the Hurricanes weren’t backing down. It was a span of 9:13 during the second period when the visitors scored three powerplay goals and five unanswered to go up 7-2 heading into the dressing room for the second intermission.

The Hurricanes added two more powerplay goals and one short-handed marker during the third period.

Calen Addison ended up with one goal and three assists, while Estephan scored twice and assisted on two others.

Both teams scored a short-handed marker while the Royals went 2/6 on the man advantage and the Hurricanes scored 6/11 on the powerplay.

Skinner stopped 18 of 22 shots fired his way. Backup Reece Klassen manned the net for 9:16 stopping both shots fired his way.

Lethbridge, with a record of 7-12-1-0 sit in second-to-last place in the Eastern Conference, while the Royals are in first place in the west with a record of 16-7-1-0 entering Tuesday’s action.

The Royals next play Friday and Saturday night against the Seattle Thunderbirds at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

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