Matthew Pohl, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE – The Lethbridge Pronghorns stood tall against the visiting Manitoba Bisons on Friday, with four different players tallying goals for the Pronghorns en route to a 4-1 win.
Pronghorns Goaltender Garret Hughson provided Lethbridge with an outstanding performance, turning aside 39 of 40 shots the Bisons reared his way.
With the win the Pronghorns snap a four game losing streak and improve to 3-6-0 on the season, while the Bisons' slid continues, losing a sixth straight game and fall to 2-7-0.
The game began with very little neutral zone time for either team, with both teams pressing hard for an early marker. Manitoba's Brett Stovin came closest four minutes in, wringing a hard wrist shot off of the glove side post behind Hughson.
Lethbridge would find the back of the net first less than two minutes later, with Torrin White netting a power play tally just shy of the six-minute mark, with assists from Justin Valentino and Blake Orban.
The Bisons next chance to strike came with four minutes left in the period, when forward Adam Henry forced his way to the slot from the half-boards to come face-to-face with Hughson, but Henry's shot was turned aside by the quick blocker of the Pronghorns' netminder.
The play would shift directions, however, setting Lethbridge on a breakaway. Manitoba's goaltender Byron Spriggs would come up huge on the play, making an outstanding desperation save to keep the score at 1-0 Lethbridge through the first period.
The second period would be met with more goaltending heroics from Hughson, who would rob Bisons forward Liam Bilton with a point-blank glove save.
Lethbridge would go on to kill off three consecutive minor penalties in the period, where the Bisons held the pressure but couldn't capitalize.
After sorting through their penalty woes, the Pronghorns would get their second goal of the game, this time from Ryan Chynoweth, with less than three minutes remaining in the frame.
Manitoba would open the third period with a penalty less than a minute in, but the Bisons penalty-kill stood tall despite being hemmed inside their zone for most of the penalty, fending off the Pronghorns unit once more.
Lethbridge would get their third goal of the game from Dalton Sward on a nice feed from Sam McKechnie, who outwaited the sliding Bisons defender before assisting on his teammate's first goal of the season.
With about eight minutes remaining in the third, the Bisons would end Hughson's bid for the shutout, with Liam Belton posting a short-handed goal on the netminder for his first of the season, assisted by Brett Stovin.
However, that's where the comeback would end, as Russ Maxwell would score an empty-net goal with 1:36 remaining, which would be the final tally of the game.
Final shots on goal were Manitoba 40 – 36 Lethbridge.
Lethbridge will host the Bisons for game two of their weekend series tomorrow at 1:00 PM, at the Nicholas Sheran Arena. Catch all the action on www.canadawest.tv.
Photo by: MPP Photography