The Regina Pats were hoping for a quick start in Game 3 of the WHL East final as the series moved to Lethbridge. It didn't happen.
While it didn't happen for the visiting team, it did for the home team as Brandon Menell scored just 16 seconds in to energize the pro-Hurricanes crowd at the Enmax Centre as Lethbridge took Game 3 of the best-of-seven series 3-1 to take a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 in Lethbridge Wednesday.
The goal put Lethbridge in control and while the Pats outshot the Hurricanes 13-7 in the opening 20 minutes, Stuart Skinner once again shut the door to give the Canes all the momentum they would need.
Regina did tie it on Dawson Leedahl's goal midway through the second, but Jadon Joseph scored about three minutes later after stepping out of the penalty box for what was the game-winner,
Igor Babenko added a 3rd period marker which came after the referees decided not to call a penalty on Canes defenceman Brady Pouteau who clearly brought down a Pats player leading to Babenko's goal.
Penalty or not, it did not take away from the fact Lethbridge controlled the game basically from the opening faceoff and would not allow Regina to play their game.
Game 4 is Wednesday, and Regina may have more injury problems. Austin Wagner left the game in the 2nd period after a slash and did not return. His status for Game 4 is not known. The Pats are already missing defenceman Dawson Davidson.
That 4th game goes in Lethbridge on Wednesday night with radio coverage on 620 CKRM and TV coverage on Access 7 or SHAW.
1st Period-1, Lethbridge, Menell 5 (Estephan, Wong), 0:16. Penalties-Wong Let (hooking), 3:50; Nagel Let (high sticking), 16:28; Brooks Reg (high sticking), 17:41; Bellerive Let (roughing), 17:41.
2nd Period-2, Regina, Leedahl 9 (Mahura, Steel), 10:43. 3, Lethbridge, Joseph 2 (Pouteau), 13:54. Penalties-Joseph Let (slashing), 11:46; Steel Reg (tripping), 18:07.
3rd Period-4, Lethbridge, Babenko 8 (Wong, Pouteau), 4:08. Penalties-de Wit Reg (slashing), 11:41; Hobbs Reg (roughing), 15:31.
Shots on Goal-Regina 13-8-8-29. Lethbridge 7-10-10-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Regina 0 / 3; Lethbridge 0 / 3.
Goalies-Regina, Brown (27 shots-24 saves). Lethbridge, Skinner (29 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Reid Anderson (53), Derek Zalaski (8).
Linesmen-Chad Huseby (59), Cody Huseby (88).
In the Western Conference final, Seattle beat Kelowna 2-1 to take a 2-1 lead in that best of 7. For the 2nd time in the series, Seattle got the game-winner in the final 30 seconds of regulation as Keegan Kolesar scored at the 19:40 mark of the 3rd period. Game 4 is in Kelowna Wednesday.